And yet, that's exactly what happened to Deanna Wolf's daughter, who showed up at her high school in Huntsville wearing an eminently modest outfit that got her yanked out of class for a "dress code violation."
Wolf posted a photograph of her daughter's clothing to Facebook as part of a complaint against the school's behavior:
Wolf is right that her daughter learned a lesson today, and that lesson probably wasn't the one the school administrators intended when they sent the girl out of class. First of all, this girl is pretty thoroughly covered to any reasonable eye — not that that should matter. What matters is that a girl got kicked out of class because of the miniscule chance a stray breeze rippling through her geometry or literature classroom could expose the vague outline of her backside to her fellow students. And apparently the right of those (male) students to a totally distraction-free education trumps the right of Wolf's daughter to have any education at all.
What we're telling kids when we pull girls out of class for dress code violations that expose knees or collarbones or those oh-so-erotic shoulder blades is that their opportunity to learn matters less than it does for a male student. We're telling them that the expectations for boys (don't ogle, pay attention in class) are miles and miles lower than what we want from girls (you are responsible for ensuring your male classmates are able to pay attention in class). And we're telling them that we'd prefer to remove them from a learning situation than to say, "Eyes on the blackboard, boys," once or twice during a lecture.
It can be hard to tackle this kind of issue as a parent, because it can bring more unwanted attention to a child already embarrassed by being pulled from class. It can invite some unwanted pushback from the community too, because people are highly invested in the idea that girls' bodies are in need of being controlled. But here are some tactics you can bust out if your daughter comes home with a dress code detention slip in hand.
It's not a fun fight, and not a pretty one, but it's one our daughters deserve to have us fight on their behalf. Otherwise, the only thing we're teaching them about their education is that they don't really deserve one.
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