Houston High School Issues Offensive Dress Code for Parents

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A high school in Houston issued a new dress code for parents, which many have criticized as discriminatory toward women, particularly women of color.

The new parental dress code bans satin caps or bonnets, hair rollers, pajamas, leggings, low cut tops, Daisy Dukes or short shorts, and revealing dresses. The letter to parents warned that if parents break the dress code, they will not be allowed inside the school until they return “appropriately dressed.”

In a memo to parents, James Madison High School Principal Carlotta Outley Brown said she would enforce guidelines on a daily basis. “To prepare our children and let them know daily, the appropriate attire they are supposed to wear when entering a building, going somewhere, applying for a job, or visiting someone outside of the home setting, I am going to enforce these guidelines on a daily basis at Madison High School,”…

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17 comments

  • jbranic1

    I agree with this. I have seen they way some parents dress going to their kids school, it is very disrespectful to themselves and to their children. Parents should be properly dressed when entering the school building, why not? It is also embarrassing to a child when their parent dresses inappropriately with revealing tight clothes, I saw a little boy, very upset trying to cover his moms rear because she had on tight spandex at the bus stop and people were looking at her. Every morning I see parents at the bus stop looking like they just got out of bed. How are the children going to learn how to dress and carry themselves in public places, by following their parents lead.

    • Laurie

      This comment either earns you an, “I’m racist” badge, or an, “I didn’t read it before I agreed with it, which also makes me a racist since the headline that I’m agreeing with flags it as racist” badge. Which is it?

    • Jody Kay

      I agree too. Except for leggings. I wear them every single Winter’s day.
      I think that’s a bit to far.
      All the rest, I’m not sure moms would dress like that. I’d be embarrassed if my mom had come to school dressed like that.

  • mitchwalkerla

    This has to be reconsidered somewhat. A bonnet? C’mon. But see through shirts and short shorts? What are those parents thinking?

  • Larry Cooper

    This is asinine, the school official has no authority to prevent a parent from entering if their clothing is legal in public.

  • thaag

    As a School Social Worker, I have attended countless meetings where teachers and administrators are frustrated at the lack of parental involvement. Many of these parents had horrible experiences in school when they were young, and these powerful negative associations of being treated badly by authority figures makes them reluctant to re-enter school spaces. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to engage parents once they’ve been turned away from the school (or even had the police called on them) simply for how they’re dressed. If the school doesn’t want students exposed to the manner of dress of a parent, then they can quickly escort that parent to a private meeting space without insulting the parent. As a nation, we are focused on the wrong things. We chastise kids and parents for the way they dress, but fail to chastise ourselves for not fully funding public education, providing culturally sensitive and inclusive curriculum, or fair discipline practices. If we could provide engaging, empowering education in all schools, I think the ripple effects of respecting oneself would follow.

    • Tiff

      I agree with everything you said. I do think people should use discretion when going to a school, but there are far more important things to be concerned with than what parents are wearing.

  • MomJ

    I really feel that telling people what they can and cannot wear should not ever – ever! – be the duty of the government agent.

  • veganyogini

    Just another case of policing women’s bodies. It even feels more disgusting when it’s woman-on-woman crimes. Shame on Principal Brown.

  • kelly.wilbur

    It seems to me that how one dresses should be a personal choice, not something dictated by the organization whose duty it is to educate your child. Focus on teaching. How dumb is it to allow liberty to erode over something so petty?

  • Saya

    This ruling is full of racist, classist and sexist judgement. If this is how people dress, this is how they dress. Someone mentioned protecting kids from embarrassment (as justification) kids are embarrassed by anything at certain ages; i was embarrassed if my mom wore the wrong kind of winter hat when she picked me up at school. It also feels like an attempt to make it harder for these parents to be involved in their kids lives unless they conform to some standard. There are no laws about how to dress in public. Why so hung up on appearances ?

  • marciawilcox1

    Brown’s statement that see-through shirts pose a danger to male students raises that old trope that males are helpless slaves to their sexual desires, and that it is women’s responsibility to not provoke them to lust. How about teaching boys to keep their eyes and minds where they belong while at school? If they’re ogling moms, they’re ogling their female classmates as well. That’s the real problem.
    As for headscarves, do-rags and the like, why in the world is that a problem??
    I have attended college classes regularly in pajama pants, as did scores of classmates, both male and female. We are just as educated today as we would have been wearing business attire.
    The whole thing is ridiculous.

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