A Dress Code Scandal
By: Mallory Neff
Where is the line drawn, and how did the athletic program cross it? At the beginning of this year, female athletic trainers had a new dress code. They would have to wear short black skirts while the guys continued wearing their blue jeans.
Our school moving up a division called for a new sense of professionalism and high expectations. Senior Emeri Dunk is an athletic trainer for football and wants to pursue this career after high school. She believed this change was unacceptable, so she put effort into getting it changed and finding a compromise.
“The main issue was that it was extremely unprofessional to wear skirts on the football field,” Dunk said.
This issue involved everyone within the athletic training department, and the trainers began seeking a solution. The decision would have to be accepted by all the trainers so that it would not cause another issue and to ensure everyone got the experience they should get out of this season.
“As a group, all the athletic trainers agreed and fought to change our dress code from Lululemon skirts to joggers,” Dunk said.
While the skirts are very chic and “in,” they are short, fitting, and are perceived as very feminine, which was something most athletic trainers were not particularly looking to elevate. It became a question of true professionalism or style.
“Not all of us were in favor of the joggers,” Dunk said. “Some wanted to keep the skirts, but in my opinion, moving to the joggers was the correct thing to do in order to be respected.”
Along with respect comes a less segregated group of athletic trainers. It is necessary for everyone to feel like they belong and to be comfortable in that position, especially if that position is crucial to their future career. Part of that comes with dressing similarly and not being forced to wear something that may negatively impact your experience in whatever group you may be involved in, especially a group with a uniform.
“We are now wearing black joggers, our athletic training polos and tennis shoes,” Dunk said. “This helps us look the part, along with being treated like we are a part of the team.”
This change happened because of a little effort and a will to be heard. A small group of trainers got to work on developing a case to save their careers. These students are very passionate about their jobs and take them seriously.
“Mainly, the senior athletic trainers advocated for the dress code change,” Dunk said. “Addie Williams, Brandon Blesser and I were all very determined to show that we care, along with wanting to be respected by other teams and coaches.”
Their journey to this solution did not come easy. This group had to work to convince and reason with the coaches and their peers. The mission to change this dress code started before the school year began. Dunk knew she would not accept the new dress code and conform to its stylistic change.
“We started the year off with having to buy our own Lululemon skirts, which are quite expensive,” Dunk said. “After the first couple of weeks of summer, we decided as student athletic trainers that we wanted to show how important this was to us, so we went to our coaches and pleaded our case. After a few weeks, they agreed that if everyone wanted them, we could have them. After convincing some other trainers, we agreed on the joggers and are now an even better, more respected group of Student Athletic Trainers.”
Dunk’s perseverance and determination throughout the situation were tried and true. She and her peers stood by their opinion and fought for what they knew would better benefit the program. Dunk believes being respected as a student athletic trainer will feed into her future. Hopefully, her change will prevail in the years to come.
“If you are very uncomfortable or feel disrespected in what you do, do not hesitate to reach out and take a stand,” Dunk said. “There will always be at least one person willing to listen and support you.”
Published 10/15/2022 – October Edition