One would think that a parent walking into their child’s school would want to make a good impression and dress accordingly. We are, after all, judged, at least in part, on appearance and first impressions count.
Well, some folks apparently don’t see it that way, thus causing James Madison High School Principal Carlotta Outley Brown, to take a stand, creating a dress code policy for parents and guests who enter her building. Among the prohibited: satin caps or bonnets, ripped jeans, low-cut tops, Daisy Dukes, and low-rider shorts.
(For those not-in-the-know, Daisy Dukes are “brief, tight-fitting denim shorts for women, typically made from a pair of cutoff jeans.” (Google told me so.)
Remember, we’re talking about adults showing up in this garb at a school, and so, in response, Principal Brown “penned” this April 9 school website post:
“Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education. You are your child’s first teacher. However, please know that we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards. We are preparing your child for a prosperous future. We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for any setting they may be in. This is a professional educational environment where we are teaching our children what is right and what is correct or not correct.”
Sound reasonable or crossing a line?
Well, according to Adrienne D. Dixson, a critical race theory professor at the University of Illinois’s Department of Education, this is a matter of racism. Stunned by this dress code news, she labelled it “unwelcoming, and restrictive, and insulting.”
Her take on the matter: “It’s beyond the bounds of functioning as a school. It’s not your job to police parents in this way.”
Moreover, she says, “It’s anti-woman. It’s very much targeting black women who care for children and have a responsibility for children at school. They may be mothers, grandmothers, aunties, foster parents… but they have some responsibility for children. Targeting the dress lengths, and bonnets, and tops, and pants, the pants with the frays and holes—which is an actual style that’s out—all those things they are targeting women, and, in particular black women.”
Then she added, “If I were a parent, I would think twice about going up to the school because you don’t know how vulnerable it makes you.”
Countering, The Wall Street Journal put its view out there, saying that parents were showing up in “risqué clothing,” and so “in a manner that was not presentable for the educational setting.”
Who’s right? Award-winning Brown, new to the school and its fourth principal in five years or critical race theory professor Dixson?
Would love to know… ~ Many thanks, Carol