School To Hand Out 'Modesty Ponchos' If Prom Dresses Don't Meet Their Dress Code

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Fox 2 Detroit

Divine Child High School will have ponchos on hand for girls at prom who don’t meet dress code

In today’s edition of shaming girls for having collarbones and breasts, a Catholic high school in Michigan has announced plans to give out “modesty ponchos” at prom if female students aren’t dressed according to the school’s standards of appropriateness.

Because of course it’s all about the girls.

Administrators at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan are apparently very worried about what the sight of some shoulder or cleavage might mean for students attending prom and as such, have a ridiculous display at the school showing girls what they can expect to happen if they show up to prom dressed inappropriately.

Yup. A literal poncho.

The school even attached a cheeky note letting girls know the purpose behind the special cloaks.

“If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements – no problem! We’ve got you covered — literally. This is our Modesty Poncho, which you’ll be given at the door. :)”

An anonymous student at the school told Fox 2 News that it will be up to teachers to decide what dresses pass muster when students walk in the door for the dance. “I do believe the school has gone too far with this,” the student says. “As we walk into prom, we are to shake hands with all the teachers and if you walk through and a teacher deems your dress is inappropriate you will be given a poncho at the door.”

Anyone else just get a gross shiver up their spine? Teachers shaking students’ hands while creepily giving them an up-and-down visual assessment and making a quick decision over whether they’re showing too much skin? This feels wrong on every level and I’m uncomfortable just imagining it.

This anonymous student is also very concerned with how the school will handle anyone who complains publicly about it. “Who knows what will happen to those who try and speak out against it,” she says.

Divine Child already requires parents to sign off in advance on a dress code outlining appropriate prom attire, but the poncho was added after the fact by theology teacher Mary Pat O’Malley. She tells Fox 2 News that the ponchos were displayed in advance to give female students time to hopefully find a dress that won’t be poncho’d at the door.

“We are trying to focus on the inner beauty and not draw attention to something that doesn’t need attention drawn to it,” O’Malley explains. “It was really intended as a deterrent and a light hearted one at that.”

Nothing says light hearted like a little body-shaming of teen girls on one of the most memorable nights of their lives, right? Ugh.

O’Malley and the school’s principal tell Fox 2 News that no parents have complained yet, but an anonymous parent told the station the poncho threat is “a method of shaming” that’s “degrading to females and its interpretation what’s modest and what isn’t.”

The prom is May 12th and Divine Child junior Erin Wade tells Detroit Free Press that the poncho display now has her concerned enough to look for a new dress, worrying that her mermaid-style glittery gray one might not pass the modesty test.

She tweeted, “turns out the prom dress that i’ve had for months is against school code! looks like i have to return it and buy a brand new dress just so that i don’t get adorned with this beautiful, totally not slut-shaming, modesty poncho!”

“It’s a very stressful time,” she tells the paper.

Yes, I imagine it is. I bought my prom dress several months in advance and picked out accessories and the perfect shoes to go with it. If my school pulled this a few weeks before the dance I would’ve been a total wreck. This is supposed to be a fun time for teens, but instead, the adults are ruining it.

The anonymous student who spoke to Fox 2 says if the school tries handing her a poncho at the door, she would be having none of it. “I would refuse the poncho and go to dinner somewhere else dressed up,” she says.

And good for her.

This article was originally published on