Ridiculous school dress code policies in the US have reached an all-time high.
On March 3, KTAL/KMSS reported that a high school in Shreveport, Louisiana, was forcing students to submit photos of themselves wearing potential prom dresses to the principal. Only if the dresses were approved would they be allowed to purchase the garments and wear them to the event.
KTAL/KMSS obtained a screenshot of the text sent by Southwood High School principal Dr. Kim Pendleton to all students, informing them of the policy. It read:
“This message is for any female attending Southwood’s prom. Boys, this also applies to your off-campus dates. As you begin shopping for your attire, please make sure you do not purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner. Also, make sure we do not see excess cleavage or skin. Prior to purchasing an outfit, I will need you to send me a picture of you in the outfit with your name and grade. Once I approve the outfit, you may purchase it. The approved outfit is the only one you will be allowed to wear to prom.”
As you might expect, many were upset with the requirement. First off, it mainly applies to “females,” and reflects the attitude that girls’ bodies are distracting and should be covered up. The “boys” mentioned in the text aren’t subjected to similar restrictions. No one would ever say a guy in a sheer button down is wearing something “revealing.”
Secondly, it assumes most teens and their parents lack the judgment needed to find appropriate attire.
Also, logistically, the policy is inconvenient. What if the teen and her parent are at the store and ready to buy, and the principal is slow to respond? Should they wait all day? Leave the dress at the store and risk someone else taking it home instead? Who wants to be contacting their principal on a weekend or weeknight? AWKWARD.
And perhaps there’s a student who just wants to order their attire online without trying it on first.
On Facebook, a commenter on the KTAL page wrote, “To expect every female student to send a pic of her dress before buying it is crazy. It is the responsibility of the students and parents to know the dress code and follow it. Not the principal’s. The principal is there to enforce the rules for all… not micromanage each student.”
Jakarius Simpson, a brother of a female junior at Southwood, told KTAL/KMSS, “It should be the parents say-so of the kid’s approval instead of the principal, so I think it’s totally wrong.”
But not everyone found the policy problematic. Albert Bryant, whose granddaughter is a student at Southwood, told KTAL/KMSS that he can “understand” the policy because there are some young ladies “raising themselves more or less and they can get a little bit provocative.”
Another commenter on the KTAL Facebook page wrote, “The idea was great. She just needed a different approach. 🤷🏾♀️”
In a statement to NBC News, Dr. Pendleton explained that the rule was implemented because staff and parents were concerned about students dressing inappropriately at school events. She also said that she had not rejected any photos she received and that the procedure got positive feedback from parents.
The policy was not in effect for long. Caddo Parish Public Schools, which includes Southwood High School, met with Dr. Pendleton. Afterward, they released a statement announcing that students at the high school would no longer have to send photos of their dresses to their principal for pre-approval, KTAS/KTAL reported on March 7.
But if any teens and parents have doubts about a dress, the school said they can still review pics.
We have a feeling not many will be taking them up on the offer.