Schools have come under fire in recent years for dress codes that perpetuate body shaming and tired old gender stereotypes among young girls.
The father of a five-year-old felt compelled to speak out earlier this year after his daughter was told the spaghetti straps of her sundress weren’t appropriate for nursery, and now it’s happened again.
The offending area of the female body this time?
Stacie Dunn was called by Woodford County High School in the US state of Kentucky last week, on the first day of the new term, because her sixteen-year-old daughter had flaunted the rules of the dress code.
The establishment doesn’t have a student uniform, but according to the school’s principal, Stephanie’s outfit of jeans, a fitted vest top and a cardigan was considered inappropriate.
Writing on Facebook alongside a picture of Stephanie’s offending outfit, Stacie says:
“So this is my daughter at school today. 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 I got there I found a group of female students standing in the office due to being out of dress code also.
“Woodford County High School and the principle have been enforcing a dress code where girls cannot show even their collar bones because it may distract their male class mates. This is ridiculous! Parents are being called away from their important jobs and students are missing important class time because they are showing their collarbones! Something needs to change!”
Despite Stacie bringing in a scarf for Stephanie to wear, she was in the end sent home from school anyway.
Stacie's post has so far been shared over 45,000 times, and has attracted a stream of comments all criticising the unfair and sexist dress code policy.
One woman writes: “Can the boys show their collar bones? Sounds like discrimination to me. Why don't we just separate into all male and all female classes? Or gee, maybe boys should be held accountable for unacceptable behavior?”
Another adds: “What they really need to do is teach young males how to not be distracted. This dress code is really sexist. I would call up the civil liberties people in Frankfort. This is discrimination against females.”
This isn’t the first time the school’s dress code has come under fire. Back in May this year, students joined together to make a documentary about the strict wardrobe rules, and the effects they have on pupils.
Explaining the message behind her video Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code, student Maggie Sunseri says: “I made this documentary for a filmmaking class project, but I also just really wanted to show the reality of the WCHS dress code and all other school dress codes.
“I think that there needs to be an open discussion when it comes to the issues presented in this film, and I think that by showing how the dress code affects real high schoolers, it could open the door for the amendment or abolition of the dress code.”
Staff at Woodford High School have since responded, noting that they are open to making changes to the rules if an appropriate compromise can be reached.
"It just needs to be measurable so that it can be consistently enforced,” Scott Hawkins, superintendent at the school says in an interview with today.com. “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.”
The school has now been presented with a new proposal, put together by Maggie Sunseri, and is set to deliver its verdict on whether changes will be made on September 21.