School dress codes aren’t a new phenomenon, but — as you may have noticed — we’re moving backwards at warp speed when it comes to the rights of women and girls. Often criticized for unfairly targeting female students, dress codes tend to focus on garments worn by girls that supposedly threaten to distract their male peers, making girls responsible for both covering themselves and managing others’ reactions to the fact that they have bodies.
But the Forney Independent School District has taken their problematic newly revised dress code a step further than most, making “dresses, skirts and skorts” permissible “for Pre-K through 4th grade students only.”
Because ten is the magic age at which a skirt becomes a danger to a student’s education.
Bizarrely — though certainly with racist overtones — the Forney school district is also prohibiting “clothing with hoods (such as hoodies, jackets, coats, etc.) . . . inside the building at any time.” So students will have to remove their coats before stepping inside the front door?
The district justifies these changes by reasoning that they will promote “professionalism.”
“Every profession has a uniform, whether it’s scrubs, a welding helmet, or a chef’s apron,” says the voice of a young girl in a promotional video released by the district. “The way I dress plays an important role in both professionalism and safety.”
Yes, as if professional women like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs never wear skits or dresses. Oh wait.
And how does wearing pants promote safety? What?
“There are so many important future workforce skills that we want to impart in our kids as they head off to have a successful future,” says Superintendent Justin Terry later in the video. While “creativity and collaboration” are important, he says, “so are baseline employability skills.”
“We are so excited to reset this bar with you,” Terry continues, “to take our schools, our classrooms, back for the future of our kids,” as though items of clothing, not AR-15s, are what parents in Texas worry about these days.
Thankfully, at least one Forney student is already practicing another skill that workers need: organizing. A petition started by Brooklyn Hollaman on change.org has gathered over 4,000 signatures.
Welding helmets, though. Might not be a bad idea to require kids to wear those at all times.