A middle school dress up week called for kids to wear red for “taken,” green for “single” or yellow for “it’s complicated”
Most adults are probably familiar with the concept of a “stoplight party.” My sorority did them all the time. But the key word there is “adults.” A Louisiana middle school hosted a dress-up week and asked students to follow stoplight party rules, and just, what?
For anyone who hasn’t taken part, the concept goes like this: Wear green if you’re single (get it? Green light?). Wear red if you’re taken. Wear yellow if it’s complicated. It’s kind of fun if you’re, again, an adult. But for preteens? This is the wrong message in every way.
Still, it’s exactly what happened at Iowa Middle School. M.J. Mouton, whose daughter attends the school, posted about it to Twitter. He called it “totally inappropriate” — and he would be right.
My daughter's school has dress up week. Monday is…
Wear Red if you are taken.
Wear Green if you are single.
Wear Yellow if it is complicated.
She is in middle school.
Totally inappropriate. Welcome to Louisiana.
— M.J. Mouton (@MJ_Mouton) September 22, 2018
According to Mouton’s tweets, this dress-up theme is used by students at the high school in the same district before Homecoming, to find out who’s available to ask to the dance. But letting it carry over into the middle school crosses a line. Middle schoolers are, at most, 14 years old. They may have crushes, but they’re ultimately too young to be discussing who’s “taken” or “single,” especially in a way that’s sanctioned by the school.
“Kids should be kids,” Mouton told KPLC News. “Sure, some middle school kids are going to have boyfriends and girlfriends and crushes, but I don’t think we need the school to play matchmaker for a 10 to 14-year-old.”
Mouton further reported on Twitter that he sent a letter to his daughter’s school to complain. The response he got was… frustrating, to say the least.
It’s never too late to make changes that would avoid hyper-sexualizing children, but apparently this school doesn’t agree. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this dress-up day is doing. It’s not innocent fun. It’s forcing relationship ideals onto kids who should just be kids. They’re too young to think about this kind of thing. Let them act their age, which should not involve broadcasting their relationship status at school.