Federal Judge Rules Against School's Sexist Skirt Requirements For Girls

by Julie Scagell
Image via Getty/Glow Images

The school cited ‘chivalry’ as rationale for the dress code

A federal judge ruled a North Carolina K-8 public charter school’s uniform policy violates the Constitution by requiring girls to wear only skirts to school as a part of their uniform policy. “The skirts requirement causes the girls to suffer a burden the boys do not, simply because they are female,” the ruling stated in part.

The guardians of three students aged five, ten, and 14 who attend Charter Day school sued the school in 2016, citing that the dress code means the girls are colder in the winter, unable to participate in activities, and were overall completely unnecessary. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard agreed, ruling the dress code violates the Constitution’s equal protection statutes.

Howard summarized the plaintiff’s arguments by saying the dress code “forces them to pay constant attention to the positioning of their legs during class, distracting them from learning, and has led them to avoid certain activities altogether, such as climbing or playing sports during recess, all for fear of exposing their undergarments and being reprimanded by teachers or teased by boys,” CBS News reported.

People were quick to show their support of the verdict:

According to the ACLU, Charter Day’s founder has previously stated that the skirts promotes “chivalry,” “traditional values,” and “mutual respect,” and then we all banged our heads against a wall forever and ever. The school also said that changing the school’s specific requirements puts at risk its “broader goal and results that have included test scores higher than nearby traditional public schools.” Surprisingly, they were unable to say why wearing skirts had anything to do with this, whatsoever.

“All I wanted was for my daughter and every other girl at school to have the option to wear pants so she could play outside, sit comfortably, and stay warm in the winter,” Bonnie Peltier said in a statement to the ACLU. “But it’s disappointing that it took a court order to force the school to accept the simple fact that, in 2019, girls should have the choice to wear pants.”

The fact that this is even a thing in 2019 is absurd. Girls shouldn’t be required to wear skirts to be able to receive an education. A piece of clothing doesn’t cause “mutual respect” between students, respect is earned, it’s based on how you treat another person and how they value you. Period.

According to the Charter Day’s website, they aim to “endeavor to inculcate the four classical virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance and the three attributes of faith, hope, and charity.”

“Yesterday’s ruling vindicates our young clients, who argued that the dress code policy was both outdated and discriminatory,” said Galen Sherwin, attorney for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. “This policy reflected antiquated gender stereotypes, intentionally sending the message that girls are not equal to boys. Such discriminatory stereotypes risk following students throughout their lives, and should have no place in our public schools.”