Mom invites principal to go shopping after daughter got in trouble for shorts
The heat is rising with summer approaching, and so are the number of school administrators policing girls’ clothes with dress code policies. But one mom is not having it, and she wrote an epic letter to her daughter’s principal asking if they would like to take her daughter shopping instead.
Catherine Pearlman’s 13-year-old daughter was sent home with a note from middle school two days in a row for wearing shorts in hot weather. The mom took to Instagram to share photos of the shorts that were deemed inappropriate because they stopped before her daughter’s finger tips.
My girl was dress coded two days in a row. It's impossible to find shorts that are remotely fashionable and below her finger tips. She's tall with long arms and fingers. One more code and she will have detention. And making the policy even more frustrating is that there isn't a dress code for high school.
“It’s impossible to find shorts that are remotely fashionable and below her finger tips,” writes Pearlman. “She’s tall with long arms and fingers. One more code and she will have detention.”
Pearlman, a licensed social worker and author, wrote a letter to her daughter’s principal and posted it on her website TheFamilyCoach and on the community TODAY show website. The letter explains to the principal that her daughter is tall and it’s really hard to shop for clothes that meet the dress code guidelines. Then she suggests that maybe the principal ought to have a stab at it.
“Thank you for sending a note home for the second day in a row to say my daughter was dressed inappropriately for school,” Pearlman writes. “I’d like to offer an additional thank you for forcing her to change into large mesh shorts that have been worn by only god knows who and potentially never washed.”
“To reward you for treating my daughter with such concern, I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping.”
It won’t be easy though, she reminds the principal.
“Here are the specifications you have to work with. I wish you loads of luck. She is 5’7″ and 13 years old. Built more like her father, she has exceptionally long legs and arms. She doesn’t like anything pink or purple or frilly.”
Tall people you know — the struggle is so real. Finding bottoms that aren’t awkwardly long or short is a friggin’ challenge. I used to cry trying on jeans as a teenager because my long legs made every pair look like high waters.
Additionally, like many middle schoolers Pearlman’s daughter has very specific style tastes.
“No item of clothing can have a logo visible because to her that’s not cool. She will however, wear any type of superhero, Green Day or USFL T-shirt if you can find them.”
The mom also points out that whatever clothes the principal chooses, she’ll have to make sure they pass the ever-popular-and-humiliating finger tip test.
“She has very long fingers which seems to make finding shorts that won’t get her sent to the principal’s office impossible (On the bright side the piano teacher says those fingers are an asset). I’d schedule a few afternoons and weekends for this endeavor.”
She ends with a reasonable request which is for the principal to stay within budget.
“We can’t spend a fortune on her wardrobe. She is still growing after all.”
What comes next is the mic drop moment. The mom serves up the most delicious post script kicker.
“P.S. I forgot to thank you for making it clear to my daughter that her body is somehow a distraction, either to herself or to the boys. I thought she might have missed the message earlier in the year when the gym teacher told her she couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys aren’t able to control themselves,” she writes. “I appreciate how hard you are working to drive the point home.”
“She didn’t take getting in trouble that hard, but was struggling with what she would wear every day and avoiding the principal,” Pearlman tells Scary Mommy.
More and more school-aged girls are being targeted by antiquated and sexist dress codes, whether it’s being humiliated by a teacher for wearing “spaghetti straps,” being forced to wear a coat in 90 degree heat, or being chided for naturally long legs. Pearlman encourages parents to be advocates for their kids.
“Parents should not just accept it if they aren’t happy with it. Girls aren’t objects. Their shoulders aren’t distractions. More parents should say so.”