One Tennessee mom wrote a letter to her daughter’s school district making a solid point about dress codes and mask mandates, and it’s going viral
Amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases as parents begin sending their kids back to school, plenty of parents and school staffers across the country continue to advocate for mask policies for in-person learning. One Tennessee mom is going viral for making a solid point about her district’s arbitrary policies about other types of fabric.
After the state’s Hamilton County School District (in the southeastern part of TN) announced that masks will be mandatory for students and staff unless they complete an opt-out form — now a statewide policy enacted by Republican Governor Bill Lee — Wendy (whose last name has been withheld out of privacy concerns for her family) emailed the school board of East Hamilton High School, where her daughter is starting her senior year, highlighting the hypocrisy of making mask mandates optional while the school’s dress code is not.
Her email, which was shared by local news outlet the Tennessee Holler, quickly went viral on Twitter for pointing out the “misogynistic” nature of the dress code, which prevents students from wearing low-cut shirts, tank tops, most skirts and dresses, athletic shorts, and leggings, among other things.
“As the parent of a daughter at East Hamilton, I find the school’s dress code policy to be misogynistic and detrimental to the self-esteem of young women,” she wrote. “Rather than shaming young women into covering their shoulders (and other parts of their body), I believe we should empower female students to have agency over their own bodies and to wear clothing that is comfortable for them and contributes to their ability to enhance their learning experience.”
She continued, “In light of the opt-out option related to the recently announced mask mandate, I can only assume that parents are now in a position to pick and choose the school policies to which their child should be subject. As someone who holds a strong commitment to my feminist ideals and my desire to raise my daughter to be a strong and empowered woman able to make choices for herself, I find that the school’s dress code does not align with my belief system. I therefore intend to … send my daughter to school in spaghetti straps, leggings, cut offs, and anything else she feels comfortable wearing to school.”
Of course, Twitter users were quick to applaud Wendy’s letter, which makes a valid point about why it makes sense to ban leggings but not a potentially life-saving piece of fabric in the middle of a pandemic in which millions of students are not yet able to be vaccinated.
Wendy told The Lily that she did not receive a response from school officials, but she’s not backing down against the double standard highlighted by most (if not all) school dress codes. “We’re going to continue to advocate on this issue and push for policies that are supported by medical data and the recommendations of experts,” she said. “We’ll do whatever we can to keep our children and our teachers safe.” All the slow claps for that.
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