Throughout the past month, James Madison High School, as well as several other United States high schools, have been notifying families of a sweeping bew dress code policy for parents.
The ban forbids all people visiting the school from wearing revealing and sagging clothing, as well as pajamas, hair rollersm satin caps and bonnets.
Also on the list are shower caps, short dresses, lingerie and other clothing the schools have deemed inappropriate for an educational space.
Principal Carlotta Outley Brown at James Madison High School in Houston issued a letter which is now posted on the high school’s website outlining the specific clothing that parents are not allowed to wear.
Among the items on the list: "Leggings that are showing your bottom and where your body is not covered from the front or the back" https://t.co/5vKHRdZYlo— Social Life In Miami (@SocialLifeMiami) April 24, 2019
The principal insisted the guidelines would be in place to prepare the children, letting them know on a daily basis 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.
“We are preparing our children for the future and it begins here,” said Brown.
The principal’s letter stated parents violating the newly-enforced dress code rules would under no circumstances be allowed inside the school until they'd returned appropriately dressed for the school setting.
Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia instituted a similar dress code which asks parents to refrain from wearing shower caps, low pants, short shorts, leggings and more.
The new dress code sparked a mixed reaction.
Tennessee Democratic State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, who had called for legislation regarding both dress codes and codes of conduct for parents at school after reports surfaced of a parent arriving at a school in lingerie, applauded the new policy.
A high school’s new dress code bans leggings, pajamas and silk bonnets — for parents — I felt compelled to weigh-in on this one. Please see my attachment. https://t.co/wG5rXZd6XW pic.twitter.com/UW6Hv1iNnJ— Principal Kafele (Baruti K. Kafele) (@PrincipalKafele) April 24, 2019
“Based on what the principal told me, body parts were exposed,” Parkinson told the WSJ. “Think about what that does to a child for the rest of the day.”
However, the American Civil Liberties Union spoke out against such measures, saying that dress codes for parents could violate Title IX.
“We are seeing more and more of these dress codes targeted at parents,” said ACLU attorney Emma Roth.
“These parent dress codes are certainly very concerning and perpetuate sexist norms about what is appropriate about what mothers and fathers should wear to school.”
A Texas high school is facing a backlash for instituting a restrictive dress code on parents, with critics of the new rules accusing the principal of racism and classism. https://t.co/jwn6zL9Yeq— VICE News (@vicenews) April 24, 2019
According to the ACLU, given the push to get more parents involved in school life, the new dress code would seem to be a counterproductive move.
Also, instituting a dress code policy at a Houston school that is 58 percent Hispanic and 40 percent black, and where three-quarters of students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced-price lunches sparked a strong online community reaction.
READ MORE: Japan Schools Promote Sexual Equality in Dress Code
As the policy ricocheted across Houston and beyond, many went online to slam it as an example of how policies on personal appearance can enforce racist and classist power structures.