Problem statement: Dressing for school has been intensely disputed and has led to periodic changes in dress codes since the foundation of the Turkish republic. Practioners have tried to put some new practices related to school dress codes into practice for redressing former dress code issues involing mandatory dress standards for both students and teachers but which caused chaos and confusion in schools beacause of lack of legal regulation. Uncertainty in dress codes, of which implications and outcomes are still being discussed in terms of psycholgical, socio economic, and academic, causes issues for teachers, students, and parents and can negatively affect performance.
Purpose of Study: The present study is focused on the perceptions of school leaders, teachers, and students in terms of dress codes as an educational policy. Education deeply affects every individual in society; from this point of view any individual in society needs to be involved in new policies in the field of education. For this purpose, this study addressed perceptions of school leaders, teachers, students, and parents in terms of free dress codes in schools. The study also aimed to contribute solutions to the dress code problem.
Method: This is a survey method study. The study sample was comprised of 611 participants (100 managers, 111 teachers, 254 students, and 146 parents). Data were collected via a 30-item questionnaire that was developed by a researcher. Frequency, arithmetic mean, independent groups, and one-way variance (ANOVA) techniques were used to analyze data. A Tukey HSD test was used to determine in which groups the sample differed. Significance was set at p <05.
Findings and Results: While managers (4, 80-47, 70) and teachers (4, 19-3, and 90) perceived the highest ratio for several parameters: 1) "dresses are perceived as sign of students‘ socioeconomic level" and 2) "students pattern themselves after other friends". Parents (3, 52) and students (3, 69) perceived the highest ratio in terms of "Students easily and comfortably act." These findings indicate that parents and students have similar opinions. The results do not indicate significant differences among perception of shareholders, managers, teachers, students, and parents about dressing in schools.
Conclusion and Recommendations: All new practices should consider every individual in society. Parents, teachers, and managers need to be informed about the effects of dress on students‘ physiological and psychological development. Legal regulations must be put into practice to let students wear different clothes and have a sense of pluralistic democracy.
Key words: Dress, education policy, shareholders, change, uncertainty.