For years, public schools across the U.S. have been policing female bodies with sexist dress codes. Girls have been pulled out of class for “inappropriate” attire ranging from skirts deemed too short to long-sleeved dresses (really). In some instances, dress code policies even prevent black students from wearing their natural hairstyles. But Alameda Unified School District in Alameda, California is trying to change all that by implementing a new feminist and inclusive dress code.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the new policy allows students to wear tank tops, hats, crop tops, ripped jeans, and pajamas. Students still have to wear “clothing that covers genitals, buttocks, and areolae/nipples with opaque material,” and the new rules also ban clothing that depicts violence, drugs, pornography, or hate speech. But within these reasonable restrictions, students are pretty much free to dress as they please.
District spokesperson Susan Davis told ABC 7 that the new policy was specifically designed to prevent body-shaming.
In an introduction to the policy, the school district wrote that it resulted from student activism. In 2016, a group of middle school students, along with their teacher, met with school administrators to discuss the existing dress code. In 2017, they brought their concerns before the local board of education, arguing that the policy disproportionately focused on girls’ clothing choices and that it often made students feel ashamed. The district listened, and the new, more feminist dress code was born.
The district’s website notes that the new policy is “in a pilot phase” for the 2018-19 school year, meaning that the board will decide whether or not to permanently adopt it in May 2019.
We’re excited to see this school district embracing guidelines that will enable all students to feel comfortable in their bodies. Now, if only other school districts would follow suit.