Enforcing masks vs. dress code on campus


Grecia Bugarini

In the first five weeks of school, Bowie High School recorded 84 dress code violations and one mask violation, an open records request reveals.

Bowie High School student Monica Escarcega, Bowie alumna and current guardian Nadia Bugarini, and EPISD’s community engagement specialist Gustavo Reveles have been interviewed regarding the issue. Bowie campus administrators have declined to comment on the matter.

“I think at this moment, masks should be more enforced (than dress code),” said Nadia Bugarini, Bowie alumna/guardian.

Several current students agree. “The mask yes (enforced more over dress code), because we are going through a pandemic, but the dress code no, it’s a bit demanding,” said Monica Escarcega, a junior at Bowie High School.

Many say that currently, as we are still recovering this pandemic, we should be focusing more so on COVID safety on campuses first.

“As we are still in this pandemic, it’s not a two-month or two-year thing. And especially with all these new variants, we still need to be precocious and safe,” Bugarini said.

Recently, “dress code vs. mask” has been a controversial topic, with many students and parents posting on social media to voice their opinions on the matter.

The mask mandate was approved by the EPISD Board of Trustees as a response to the pandemic and with the urging of the city’s health authority. Dress codes are handled separately.

“The dress code and the mask mandate are two separate issues,” Reveles explained. “The dress code is part of the student handbook and district policy.”

Many current and former students say they feel the dress code is a little too strict.

“I feel (dress code) it’s a bit unfair, I usually can’t wear the clothes I like, and it’s a bit silly that I can’t wear bare shoulders or caps,” said Escarcega. “In summer school, I decided to wear an off-the-shoulder blouse, so I had to change back to something less ‘provocative.'”

The district explains that the dress code is reviewed regularly. “The dress code is addressed in the student code of conduct and agreed upon by students and parents upon registration…the dress code is reviewed on an annual basis,” said Reveles.

On the other hand, many people agree that masks are helpful in the fight against COVID-19. “I feel that they do help, and they better help to prevent getting COVID,” said Bugarini.

EPISD enforced a mask mandate in August to help slow the spread of the virus. “The mask mandate was approved by the Board of Trustees on Aug. 19 and is the use of a mask is required by all students, employees, and visitors while inside an EPISD facility or vehicle,” said Reveles.

Both dress code and masks have proven to be a controversial topic among many. Some believe that it’s up to teenagers to promote positive changes. “I feel that since the beginning, it’s definitely had its controversial topics but given how outspoken our younger generation is (Gen Z) maybe it can change for the better,” said Bugarini.