Our collarbones are being called a "distraction" for boys and it's all kinds of wrong
Well, it’s August. That means back-to-school — and, unfortunately, the beginning of the annual school dress code battle. In the past year, we’ve seen an National Honors Society historian stripped of her title because of a spaghetti strap dress, a young girl sent home for wearing a long-sleeved shirt and black leggings, a student shamed for wearing a dress that “showed too much shoulder” at a school dance, and another student suspended for wearing a floor-length, long-sleeved dress to her dance. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks.
For many schools, the year hasn’t even started yet, but already, the dress code battle has begun. Four days ago, student Josephina Thompson was sent home from a school in Alabama for wearing a long, baggy sweatshirt and black leggings. And now, Kentucky mom Stacie Dunn has taken to Facebook to share the story of her daughter, who was recently sent to the principal’s office in Woodford County High School for wearing a shirt that failed to cover her collarbone. Her collarbone.
Stacie posted a picture of her daughter, Stephanie Hughes, who was wearing jeans, a tanktop, and a white cardigan (a super cute outfit, IMHO). “So this is my daughter at school today,” Stacie wrote in the caption. “I had to come to the school because according to her school principal what she is wearing is out of dress code and inappropriate for school.”
When Stacie arrived in the office, she saw a group of female students who had also been called to the office for their outfits. “[The school and principal] have been enforcing a dress code where. . . girls can not show even [their] collar bones because it may distract their male class mates [sic]. . .Parents are being called away from their important jobs and students are missing important class time because they are showing their collarbones!”
Later on in the day, Stacie posted another picture of her daughter, this time wearing a scarf that almost entirely covered her up. “So [Steph] got sent home from school for giving the principal an attitude when he told her the scarf I brought her to cover up with was still inappropriate and she needed to fix it,” Stacie wrote in the caption. “. . . did he want her to tie it like a noose around her neck!”
According to the school’s dress code which has been in place for the past ten years, all shirts must have crew-neck collars that don’t slip below the collarbone, because apparently, collarbones are too distracting. “The whole idea behind the dress code is to make sure you have a safe learning environment and that’s what we’re trying to create,” Woodford County Schools superintendent Scott Hawkins told Today. “. . . There’s nothing magical about the collarbone itself other than that’s just a point of reference, kind of like your knee would be for the length of shorts, or the length of a skirt.”
“Our school administration has been very open with students and parents alike, that if they feel like changes need to be made, they are open to suggestions,” he continued to Today. “It just needs to be measurable so that it can be consistently enforced.”
Stacie certainly had some suggestions. Later that day, Stacie posted another Facebook status updating her friends and followers on the sitation. According to her status, the principal of the school called; he agreed to discuss and possibly amend the dress code if Stacie would “put together a proposed dress code that was realistic, measurable, and professional that everyone, including lawyers, could agree [to].”
“Sounds like I have some work to do,” she wrote, adding that she never intended to “bash” anyone at the school. I also want to say that I understand how difficult enforcing school rules are and I respect and appreciate all that our school faculty do for our children,” Stacie wrote. “. . . my intent was not to bash anyone on social media but to draw attention to how ridiculous and sexist the dress code is.”
// < ![CDATA[
// < ![CDATA[
// < ![CDATA[
Luckily, this story has a happy ending: Two days later, Stacie and the staff were able to come to an agreement on an updated dress code and are sending it to the school board for review next week.
We are always so happy to hear about schools listening to parents and students. Of course, it’s difficult to run a school without rules, but deeming collarbones a distraction is ten steps back in the wrong direction. Thanks, Stacie, for taking a stand. It’s time to stop these sexist dress codes once and for all.
(Images via Facebook)