One School’s Brilliant Response to Sexist Dress Code Policies

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Are school dress codes sexist? We asked students to weigh in with their opinions in the January 2015 issue of Choices, and we received several responses from both sides. This question has been a hot topic lately, after a string of disciplinary actions from schools sparked the discussion publicly. For instance, one Canadian school has begun sending students home for visible bra straps, and just three days after moving across the country and starting at a new school, one Clay Country, FL student was forced to wear a “shame suit” for her dress code violation.

The debate is heated, but one thing is for sure: the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, VA has had the best school-wide response yet.

According to reports, one day this past September, an announcement was made throughout school that administrators would be checking the length of female students’ shorts, and any violators would be forced to change. Furthermore, if more than 10 young women were found in violation, all MLWGS females would be banned from wearing shorts for a day. According to reports, male students were neither checked nor punished for the length of their shorts.

The students of the school instantly saw the injustice in this policy, and began plotting a way to take down this blatant double-standard. Their brilliant response? Boys can wear short-shorts, too. And so they did. (For photos, see Elizabeth Ballou’s reporting for Bustle.)

It seems that their peaceful protest yielded positive results, and the school administration has planned to review their outdated dress code. What do you think of the school dress code policy and the students’ response? To hear more responses to this debate and weigh in with you own opinions, check out the January 2015 issue of Choices magazine.

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