This morning I received a panicked text message from my 15 year old daughter, Hope. She was in the school office and a random teacher or staff person (i.e. not any of her class teachers) told her the outfit she was wearing was “inappropriate.” She was charged $1 to “rent” a super big shirt to wear in place of her inappropriate clothing.
Below is the offending outfit:
Hope’s response? “If I was skinny and didn’t have a butt they wouldn’t pick on me.” SKINNY. My daughter is very thin, but healthy. Due to medication side-effects she has even struggled with being underweight at times. My daughter can look at the skinny people with a different body type and see that long shirts and leggings are okay for them, but that she is held to a different standard. This one teacher has influenced the mind of a teenage girl to erroneously think that her body is not okay and Hope was able to pinpoint the “problem area.” This area has been deemed inappropriate by some arbitrary standard and by saying this is inappropriate said teacher has sexualized my daughter’s body.
Maybe the leggings are the issue? Nope. I checked the policy and it says nothing about wearing leggings. This is a large tunic shirt over leggings and is what many teens wear everyday. It isn’t spandex and it isn’t tights. These are cotton, stretchy leggings that you cannot see through. Here’s a screen shot. Notice the subjective term “immodesty.” Who gets to decided what’s immodest?
Maybe something is wrong with the shirt? Oh wait. It is an Alzheimer’s society shirt Hope purchased at school from a coach.
I spent the better part of my lunch break emailing the principal and outlining the ridiculousness of this “infraction.” I’ve requested Hope get an apology and her dollar back. I’ve also voiced wanting to help rewrite school dress code policy to eliminate discriminating against body type. I’ve requested information on what training faculty receive to pull students for dress code. I’ve indicated a “willingness” to discuss this with the school board.
Two things I wished I asked:
- Do they keep track of what students are cited, because I’d love to see a gender breakdown. Pretty sure it is mostly girls suffering at the hands of arbitrary body policing.
- Could they provide some peer-reviewed scholarly research on “inappropriate” clothes and their impact on grades and testing. I know the public education system really loves assessment and data, so I’m sure they can provide me with data-supported research.
As it stands now I told Hope to not wear the ugly big shirt and keep wearing her shirt and to direct people who have an issue with it to me. I haven’t had an email back yet, but rest assured I will be following up tomorrow in person.