Parents are protective, especially of their teenage kids. So when Catherine Pearlman’s daughter was sent home not one, not twice, but three times for what she felt were unfair dress code violations, Pearlman took to the internet.
She sent a tongue-in-cheek letter to the principal (page 3) and posted a photo of what her daughter wore that prompted the dress code violation (page 5). Plus, she left us with a question that asks what the real problem may be in our school district (page 7).
1. It started when her daughter wore yoga pants to gym class
Catherine Pearlman’s struggle with the school when a gym teacher sent her daughter home for wearing yoga pants. The teacher told Pearlman that 13-year-old boys had a “difficult time controlling themselves” and that tight pants might arouse and therefore humiliate the boys.
Pearlman was frustrated … or, in her own words, horrified. “You read that correctly,” she wrote on The Family Coach, a website she founded, “My daughter, barely 13, cannot wear yoga pants or leggings in gym, because some kid might be aroused.”
Next: The school administrators didn’t stop there
2. She couldn’t wear shorts, either
It seemed it wasn’t just a yoga pants issue. Pearlman’s daughter (who stands at 5 feet 7 inches) was chastised for wearing shorts that were too short two days in a row. The school’s dress code requires the shorts be longer than students’ fingertips when they keep their arms at their sides.
The administrators made Pearlman’s daughter change into boys’ gym shorts from the lost-and-found and return to class. Pearlman immediately took to her computer to offer the principal a unique invitation (next).
Next: She had a simple message for the principal.
3. She wished the principal ‘good luck’
Pearlman wrote a post on Today.com inviting the principal of her daughter’s school to take her daughter shopping. She outlined what a difficult feat it was to find clothes that her daughter would wear, could fit into, fit the strict code, and were cost-effective.
“Thank you for sending a note home for the second day in a row to say my daughter was dressed inappropriately for school. I’d like to offer an additional thank you for forcing her to change into large mesh shorts,” she wrote. “I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping.”
Next: Here’s how her post gained its millions of viewers
4. She made a point plenty of parents resonate with
Pearlman’s letter had a central theme plenty of parents can relate to; Her teenage daughter is picky about what she wears, and few affordable stores actually sell the clothing the dress code required. The mother of two highlighted her daughter’s long limbs, how she won’t wear pants because she overheats, and her dislike for dresses.
“Now, don’t forget that you will have to find something in the stores that also meets with your dress code requirements,” she reminded the principal. “One last point: please try to stay within a reasonable budget. We can’t spend a fortune on her wardrobe. She is still growing after all.”
Next: Pearlman shared the violation photo to her Twitter account
5. And shared this photo of her daughter ‘violating’ the code
“One step closer to ending the dress code across the country. A NEW DRESS CODE POLICY & A WIN FOR GIRLS,” Pearlman tweeted. She attached photos of her daughter in the shorts that she was sent home for wearing and a link to a recent accomplishment.
Next: How Pearlman made a difference
6. She got the school to change its policy
Pearlman made another argument against the dress code: It singled out girls, insinuating they should dress in a way that makes school comfortable for boys rather than teaching boys that girls were not there to objectify. While Pearlman’s daughter entered high school, which has a more relaxed code, she noticed the middle school changed its policy.
“The best part of the new policy actually doesn’t relate to the dress code, but to how it can be enforced. School staff may NOT publicly call out a student for attire. Staff may NOT require students to bend, kneel or measure skirts or straps. And most important, school staff may NOT accuse students of distracting other students with their clothing,” she proclaimed.
Next: So, what is next for dress codes?
7. Everyone’s asking: Are dress codes body-shaming girls?
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