Dress Code for Parents Sparks Debate 👗
New dress code enforced
A high school in Houston, TX, made headlines this week for implementing a dress code for parents. Several parents have spoken out, calling the guidelines “classist,” “belittling,” and “insult[ing],” prompting a debate over whether the policy is inherently racialized and discriminatory.
What is the policy?
James Madison High School’s new dress code will turn away parents who wear pajamas, hair rollers, leggings, satin caps or bonnets, undershirts, and sagging pants or shorts. The school’s principal, Carlotta Outley Brown, who is black, has defended the policy. She wrote in a letter to parents, “[P]lease know that we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards. We are preparing your child for a prosperous future.”
Houston Chronicle: HISD principal sets dress code — for parents
Outlets that don’t take a definite stance toward the policy focus on the debate that it has engendered in wider national media coverage, and on social media. These articles highlight Outley Brown’s distinguished academic career, the ongoing conversation about student dress codes, and recent legislation proposed in Tennessee that also examines parents’ dress on school grounds.
Huffington Post: Houston high school’s dress code for parents banning ‘satin caps’ spurs debate
Outlets that see the school’s dress code policy as discriminatory take issue with the language of the ban, which specifies bonnets and satin caps (products that many black women use to protect their hair). Articles on this side point out that the rules are not district-wide — they only apply to Madison High, where the majority are minority and low-income students. These outlets emphasize that the policy originated when a mother, who is black and was wearing a short dress and headscarf, was asked to leave school property.
Where's the common ground?
Most articles pull from the same quotes by parents who are angered by the policies, and by Brown, defending it. Few outlets are defending the policy outright, though this may be because the story is still developing – although the dress code took effect earlier this month, major outlets only picked up the story this week.
Show me the lie
Share this story!