LSO Creative Writing: No Stress for the Code of our Dress

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Art by Rachel St. Louis

Just before B period:

“I’m being dress coded?” My high soprano of a voice echoed off the otherwise empty halls. I was standing by the lockers, my B period class three feet away, and my attitude notch high on the bars.

“Yes. Section C in article 3 clearly states that your shirt straps have to be two fingers thick, and no less.”


I stared the teacher down almost as hard as she was staring me down. “So,” she stressed, her voice getting lower, and her eyes squinting at me, “you’re against dress code, which means that I have to report you.”

“Can’t this wait until after?” I looked over my shoulder, back down the hall, itching to take those few steps that would allow me to enter the classroom. “I’m late.”

“I am not going to set you free to roam the school grounds when you do not look appropriate to do so.”

“Don’t look-” I startled, stopping myself. My top straps were more than half of what they needed to be, and she was forbidding me from going to class?

“Come with me.” She started at a brisk pace, walking far ahead of me, not slowing down even when it was obvious that I couldn’t keep up. Those three feet to the classroom grew quickly, and my chances of getting to that class diminished for the day.

C period:

I was still sitting in the main office halfway through C period. I was told to sit and stay quiet, and hadn’t even been glanced at by any of the people working there since I had come in. The original teacher who had written me up was gone, having needed to go back to the class she was teaching.

All the seats were full of other girls who were looking around, frowns decorating all of their faces. There wasn’t a single guy in the room.

“Jenny Mackle?” a skinny, young-looking woman called from the front, just inside an office. “Hello Jenny,” she said, smiling, as I stood up. “Please come in. I promise that I don’t bite.” I rolled my eyes. That was such an old thing to say.

“Do you know why you’re here?”

“I got dress coded.”

“Ah, yes. That does seem to be a problem today,” she said, sweeping her eyes across everyone out in the main office.

“You’re not saying everyone out there is being dress coded as well, are you?”

“Can’t say.” She had a slow pace in walking to the desk across from where I  had sat down, before picking up a folder, and sitting down herself while opening it. “You’ve had such a perfect record, too. Such a shame.”

“I had?” I questioned, biting the inside of my cheek. I knew that if I stopped doing so, I wouldn’t be able to hold my words back.

“Well, yes. This infraction will go on your permanent record, of course.”

“Right,” I said, like that was perfectly sensible.

It wasn’t.

D period:

They were trying to reach one of my parents or someone that would be able to, or be willing to, bring in a more appropriate article of clothing.

“Can’t I just go back to class?” I pleaded. “I’m already far enough behind as it is.”

“Should have thought of that before” was the only response I got from one of the mindless women behind the desk.

Before what? This idiocy?

I walked back to my seat, slumping down.

“What did you get dress coded for?” the blonde girl sitting on the seat beside myself whispered quietly, eyes darting from me to the workers.

“Having straps one and a half fingers thick. You?”

“My shorts weren’t long enough.”

I did a quick check, and noticed that her pants were a little short. But not short enough that it should have mattered all that much.

“Dumb,” cut in another girl, her brown eyes suspiciously bright. “I-I don’t have shoulders on my shirt.” I watched her sniff, her face crumbling up. “They-they’re giving me a-a demerit.” I looked at her shirt. The only thing that was being revealed to the world were her shoulders.

The scandal.

E period:

“No one can come in for you, honey. How far away do you live?”

“‘Bout fifteen minutes.”

“We’re going to have to have someone drive you down so that you can get changed, and then come back.”

“Is there even a point?” I muttered. Three more periods left after this one.

“What was that?”

“Just wondering who.”

“Ah, that’ll be our lovely Miss Jezzabell,” she said, motioning her hands over to her left.

I turned my head in that direction, but couldn’t tell which of the many women it was.

I sat back down in silence until someone stood up from their desk. She came over to me and motioned.

Her hair was black as berries in the darkness, and had a silky looking texture. Her brown eyes were the softest I had seen so far that day.

So this was Miss Jezzabell.

F period:

I had just stepped inside my front door, when a blur of orange raced at me. My cat Myst always knows exactly when I’m home with no fail. “Hey Mysty,” I soothed, scratching his ear gently, mouth turning up at the sound of his purr. “Can’t stay long. Just here to get a shirt.” I raced up the stairs, and put on a long sleeved shirt. And, just because, I grabbed a pair of pants as well. After all, I didn’t want to tempt anyone with showing my legs like I was in the shorts I had been wearing.

“I’m reeeaaaady,” I sang on my way down the flight of stairs. Miss Jezzabell nodded her head up and down twice, before turning, and making her way back to the horribly parked car. It was barely in the driveway, and hardly on the road either. Someone would have to re-tend to the grass after today.

“It’s about time, girl.”

Needless to say, the ride back to school was the longest 15 minutes I had ever endured.

G period:

“I heard,” the same mousy brown-haired girl from before whispered, “that they are being threatened to be fired, just because they don’t enforce dress code.”

“They can’t fire every teacher in the school!” I whispered back to them.

“Jenny,” she held my gaze, not breaking once. “If they want to, they most definitely will.”

“Who are you again?”

“Never said,” she said, flashing a smile. “But the name’s Carly, for future reference.”

‘Well,” the blonde girl cut in, as she was also still seated there, “I heard something else entirely. The principal’s quitting, and the teacher who enforces all the rules the most gets the spot.”

“That’s ludicrous.”

I thought they were both being ludicrous.

H period:

It was the end of the school day, and I finally made my way to class. They had had to hold me longer, to scold me and all, because they apparently couldn’t do that in the earlier hours that I was there.

“Jenny!” my friend called, racing to hug me, as if it had been years since I’d last seen her.

“Jacky,” I replied, my tone holding much amusement in my voice.

“Where have you been.”

Right. No phone is equal to no one knowing that I had gotten dress coded.

“The office.”


And so my story was told, getting more and more appalling each time, until I barely recognized truth from the lies myself.

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