‘It’s About Power’: D.C. Students Seek To Remove Bias In School Dress Codes

“Too many dress codes are rooted in really dangerous sex stereotypes about what we think a girl should look like, and what we think a boy should look like,” says Nia Evans, lead researcher of the report. “And those are really outdated binaries that we’re moving away from as a culture.”

…“Dress codes aren’t even meeting the goals that they’re intended to meet: to limit and reduce distractions or foster a sense of professionalism,” Evans says. “Students that we worked with have said, ‘I’m actually not learning either of those things. I’m just getting punished for the fact that I have a curvy body or I’m wearing my hair in a head wrap.’

…The study also found a correlation between how strict a school’s dress code is and the racial makeup of the student body. High schools with majority black students (schools where African American students make up more than 50% of the students enrolled) have more dress code restrictions than other high schools. Majority black schools also suspend girls at nearly double the rates of other schools, according to the study.

Researchers found that black girls in the District remain 20 times more likely than white girls to be suspended, despite no evidence of more misbehavior.

“Black girls deserve to bring their authentic selves to school, and we should hold our schools accountable to that,” Evans says.

…“Girls felt creeped out by their classmates and teachers commenting on how they looked and it empowered students to scrutinize each other, which makes them feel even more self-conscious,” Zerwitz said in the report.

… Many took aim at the stereotypes embedded in dress codes, rules that deny girls class time, and the “culture of harassment that paints girls as distractions.” [emphasis: Peanut Gallery]

‘It’s About Power’: D.C. Students Seek To Remove Bias In School Dress Codes | WAMU



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