- The latest dress-code controversy comes from a school in Houston, Texas. Only this time, it has to do with what parents, rather than students, wear at James Madison High School.
- The code bans things like hair rollers, leggings, pajamas, and “sagging pants.”
- Many think the dress code has racist and classist implications.
- The dress code is in place at only one school in the Houston Independent School District.
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A high school in Houston, Texas, has instated a new controversial dress code. But this mandate has nothing to do with what students can and cannot wear – instead, it focuses on parents, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The new dress code, sent in a letter to parents on April 9, said parents were prohibited from wearing shorts, bonnets, hair rollers, leggings, pajamas, and “sagging pants” on the school’s campus.
“Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education,” Carlotta Outley Brown, James Madison High School’s principal, said in the letter. “However, please know we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards.”
As the Chronicle and The Washington Post noted, the memo about the parent dress code came one day after a mum looking to enroll her daughter at the high school was turned away because of her outfit. At the time, the mum, Joselyn Lewis, was wearing a T-shirt and a headscarf, according to Click 2 Houston, a local NBC affiliate.
Lewis said she had her hair in a scarf because she was getting it done.
“I’m not saying that it’s a part of my religion, but it could have been, but I just wanted to have it up,” she told Click 2 Houston. “Who are you to say that I can’t wear my hair up? In a scarf? Who are you to tell me how to dress?”
The dress code does not affect students because they are required to wear uniforms, the Chronicle said.
Many think the dress code has racist and classist implications.
“I’m almost insulted,” Tomiko Miller, the mother of a student at the school, told the Chronicle. “I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used. It was demeaning. And I’m African American – and if it’s misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business.”
Zeph Capo, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, told the newspaper that the guidelines crossed the line.
“This principal may have plenty of money and time to go to the hairdresser weekly and have her stuff done,” he said. “Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do? Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial.”
He also called the code “classist,” “belittling,” and “dismissive,” according to the Chronicle.
The Post said the school was the only one in the Houston Independent School District to instate a dress code for parents.According to the district, the school’s student body is 58% Latinx and 40% African American.
Brown, a graduate of the high school, told The Wall Street Journal that she felt that she had to instate the code to set high standards.
“The parents were coming in risqué clothes,” she said. “They were coming in a manner that was not presentable for the educational setting.”
Rosemary Young, whose son is a student at the high school, said she had already been scolded for violating the dress code. She told KTRK, a local ABC affiliate, that after her son broke his arm on Tuesday, she rushed to the school in what she happened to be wearing at the time, including a satin cap. When she got there, she said, officials gave her a copy of the code.
“It doesn’t matter how a parent should come,” she said. “If we come here belligerent, out of control, things of that nature, that’s what you have the police for, but what I wear should never be an issue.”
- Read more:
- A 16-year-old girl says she was reprimanded for wearing leggings and a T-shirt to school
- A mum called the police on her son because he wouldn’t wake up on time for school
- A high school requires students who have fallen behind in class to wear ‘scarlet badges’ that have led to ‘public ridicule’
- A 13-year-old girl was given a dress code violation for wearing a shirt depicting a bare-shouldered Marilyn Monroe
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