California

School district says yes to ripped jeans, tank tops and no to shaming kids

Alameda Unified School District in the Bay Area loosened its dress code, stating that students will be able to wear anything they want, within reason. The dress code has been approved on a trial basis and was designed to avoid shaming students.
Alameda Unified School District in the Bay Area loosened its dress code, stating that students will be able to wear anything they want, within reason. The dress code has been approved on a trial basis and was designed to avoid shaming students.

While some school districts have come under fire for singling out dress-code violations in female students, one Bay Area school district is taking a different approach — they’ll let students wear almost anything they want.

In fact, as long as the students still wear bottoms, tops, shoes and “clothing that covers genitals, buttocks, and areolae/nipples with opaque material,” they can wear anything within reason, according to the Alameda Unified School District’s dress code. That includes tank tops, hats, ripped jeans, pajamas and “midriff baring shirts.”

Still banned under the dress code are clothes with violent or illegal imagery, as well as “hate speech, profanity, pornography,” according to the school district.

“We’re still encouraging students to dress for an active school day,” Rebecca Baumgartner, an English and history teacher at Lincoln Middle School, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want kids and parents and guardians to be deciding what appropriate is.”

The new dress code is designed to reduce body shaming, district spokeswoman Susan Davis told ABC 7.

“When you’re looking at things like how short are your shorts, are your shoulders showing, is your cleavage showing, that really means that girls are being punished more often and losing class time more often than a boy,” Davis told ABC 7.

The new dress code is “in a pilot phase for 2018-2019,” according to the school district’s website. It was based in part on work done by the Oregon chapter of the National Organization of Women, according to the website.

“The girls articulated...that they feel like the message they’re getting is that their bodies matter more than their education,” Lisa Frack, past president of the organization, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Other people’s sexual thoughts are being impressed on girls who are just wearing their soccer shorts and going to math.”

The policy comes in stark contrast to school districts around the nation. Recently, a Texas high school principal issued an apology after a video was shown to the student body that singled out girls for dress code violations.

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