Mary Margaret Olohan
A Texas high school and several other United States high schools are instituting dress codes for parents that ban shower caps, short dresses, lingerie and other clothing the schools deems inappropriate for an educational space.
The principal at James Madison High School in Houston, Carlotta Outley Brown, issued a letter now posted on the high school’s website outlining specific clothing that parents are not allowed to wear.
“To prepare our children and let them know daily, the appropriate attire they are supposed to wear when entering a building, going somewhere, applying for a job, or visiting someone outside of the home setting, I am going to enforce these guidelines on a daily basis at Madison High School,” Brown said in the letter. “We are preparing our children for the future and it begins here.”
The dress code says that parents entering James Madison High School may not wear shower caps, hair rollers, pajamas, ripped jeans, leggings “showing your bottom,” low-cut or revealing tops, shorts, saggy pants, jeans, men’s under shirts and more.
“Please know that if you break out school rules/policies or do not follow one of these rules, you will not be permitted inside the school until you return appropriately dressed for the school setting,” the letter reads in bold and underlined font.
One mother was recently prevented from entering the school after showing up in a head scarf and short dress to enroll her child, according to the Wall Street Journal. An administrator stopped her, a move in which Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers union, said the school overstepped its boundaries according to the WSJ.
“If you have questions about what a parent is wearing, pull them to the side, but enroll the kid,” Capo told the WSJ. “It’s ridiculous. We need to be encouraging parent involvement in our schools.”
Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia instituted a similar dress code which asks parents to refrain from wearing shower caps, low pants, short shorts and more.
Tennessee Democratic state Rep. Antonio Parkinson has also asked for legislation to be instated regarding both dress codes and codes of conduct for parents at school after reports of a parent showing up to school in lingerie. “Based on what the principal told me, body parts were exposed,” Parkinson told the WSJ. “Think about what that does to a child for the rest of the day.”
The American Civil Liberties Union spoke out against such measures, saying that dress codes for parents could violate Title IX.
“We are seeing more and more of these dress codes targeted at parents,” said ACLU attorney Emma Roth. “These parent dress codes are certainly very concerning and perpetuate sexist norms about what is appropriate about what mothers and fathers should wear to school.”
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