This Mom Reveals Photo of Her Daughter’s Dress Code Violation While Slamming the School for Body Shaming Teenage Girls

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

A woman stretches her leg.

Pearlman’s daughter got in trouble for wearing yoga pants … to gym class. | Choreograph/iStock/Getty Images

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

A woman wearing shorts.

Pearlman’s daughter got in trouble once again. | Anetlanda/iStock//Getty Images

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’

Catherine Pearlman smiling in a headshot.

She made the principal think more about his actions. | Catherine Pearlman via Twitter

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

A clothing rack seen in a store.

The concerned parent challenged the principal. | Sigefride/iStock/Getty Images

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

Catherine Pearlman's tweet.

She had shared her experience on social media. | Catherine Pearlman via Twitter

“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

Catherine Pearlman tweet.

Other parents were supportive and thankful. | Catherine Pearlman via Twitter

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?

A young girl sits at a desk.

Dress codes can be stressful on students. | iStock.com

Pearlman argued that dress code regulations can subtly lead to the women of today, most of whom aren’t comfortable with their bodies. CNN found that she and her daughter aren’t alone. Social media provided countless examples of girls shamed for their clothing, including one woman’s 9-year-old daughter who wore a tank top on a 99-degree day.
A retired preschool director wrote how the dress code discriminates against certain body types. “In middle school, however, dress codes for girls become downright discriminatory. By that age, tight yoga pants, cropped shorts, very short shorts and close fitting tank tops are, well, revealing for some girls. For the late bloomers, not so much.”

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