After Outcry, School Ditches Plan for 'Modesty Ponchos'

Ponchos were to be forced on girls who wore 'inappropriate' dresses to prom
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2018 3:10 PM CDT
Updated May 6, 2018 4:00 PM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / BrandeeMeier)

(Newser) – After the plan sparked controversy, Divine Child High School says it will no longer force "modesty ponchos" on girls who attend prom on May 12 in a dress that doesn't meet the Catholic school's dress code, the AP reports. The plan made headlines after the ponchos were put on display at the Dearborn, Mich., school along with notes that read, "If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements - no problem! We've got you covered - literally. This is our Modesty Poncho, which you'll be given at the door. :)" The school's Prom Formal Dress Policy includes detailed requirements banning "plunging necklines," "plunging back openings," "exposed cleavage," "visible midriffs," "cutouts beneath the traditional bra line," and slits that go higher than an inch above the knee joint, among other things. Those requirements will apparently still be in effect.

Students and their parents are required to sign off on the requirements and acknowledge that if their dress doesn't meet them, they may be forced to change or sent home. The Detroit Free Press reports that many criticized the ponchos on social media, with one student saying the school forces modesty ponchos on larger-breasted girls who wear something "even a little low" cut: "they basically body shame girls if they’re bigger than a B cup," the post reads. "It's a method of shaming, ... and degrading to females," adds an anonymous parent who spoke to Fox 2 Detroit. The teacher at the school who came up with the poncho idea says it "was really intended as a deterrent and a lighthearted one at that." After rescinding the poncho idea, the principal said the school will instead encourage students "to tailor their outfits or provide their own wraps or shawls that would meet our requirements," and said the school may provide wraps and shawls at prom.

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