March 26, 2014 12:00AM
HUNDREDS of students at a US high school protested their right to wear leggings to school, after female students were told that leggings are “too distracting for boys” and not fit for the classroom.
Many female students at Haven Middle School in Evanston, Illinois, wore leggings or yoga pants to school last week and more than 500 students have signed a petition opposing the school’s dress code rules.
The girls argued the rules were sexist and unfair — “Are my pants lowering your test scores?” read one poster on show at the protest.
“Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should feel guilty for what guys do,” Grade 7 student Sophie Hasty, 13, told The Evanston Review .
“We just want to be comfortable!” said Sophie, who was so upset by the dress rules that she wrote a letter to the school principal.
The school later clarified its dress code in a letter sent home to parents: “If leggings are worn, a shirt, shorts, or skirt worn over them must be fingertip length,’” the letter read.
But some students say the rules are inconsistently enforced.
Seventh-grader Lucy Shapiro, 12, said students who got “dress-coded” or disciplined tended to be girls who were more developed, which made the girls embarrassed.
Miss Shapiro said both she and a friend were wearing the same type of athletic shorts when a teacher reprimanded her attire, but not her friend’s.
“I asked, ‘Why just me?’ and she said it was because I had a different body type than my friend,” Miss Shapiro said.
“With all the social expectations of being a girl, it’s already hard enough to pick an outfit without adding in the dress code factor.”
Parents have also expressed their concerns about the dress code.
“For me, it’s about shaming girls about their bodies,” parent Julia Bond said.
“It’s this message across genders that girls have to cover up, and teachers saying to girls, the reason for this rule is so that boys aren’t distracted.”
“At what point do you take girls out of school altogether because boys can’t handle it?” she said.
The Principals’ Advisory Team are set to review the school’s dress code in the coming days.
What do you think, are leggings appropriate for school or work?