School's Dress Code for Parents Called 'Belittling'

It bans satin caps, shower caps, hair rollers, Daisy Dukes, pajamas
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2019 7:44 AM CDT
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This April 18, 2018 photo shows Carlotta Outley Brown, who was then the principal at Peck Elementary School in southeast Houston.   (Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Newser) – It's not the students who are irritated about a new dress code at a Houston high school. These students wear uniforms, and the new rules apply to their parents. According to James Madison High School, parents and other guests will not be permitted in "sagging pants," Daisy Dukes, uncovered leggings, "revealing tops," men's undershirts, hair rollers, shower caps, "a satin cap or bonnet," or "pajamas of any kind," per USA Today. "We are preparing our children for the future and it begins here," reads an April 9 letter from Principal Carlotta Outley Brown, who's fresh on the job. A day earlier, KPRC reported the school had turned away a mother in a T-shirt dress and head scarf. She said police were called to remove her after she demanded to see the school rule she'd apparently broken, per the Houston Chronicle.

A parent who later arrived in a satin cap to pick up her son after his brother broke an arm said her case was an emergency, but "what I wear should never be an issue," per KTRK, which notes some feel there are "racial undertones" to the new rules. "I'm African American—and if it's misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don't see how that's anyone's business," another parent complains, per the Chronicle. Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, agrees the dress code goes too far, particularly in how it applies to women. It's "classist," "belittling" and "dismissive," he tells the Chronicle. "Having a wrap on your head is not offensive." Outley Brown, who is African American, has so far not returned requests for comment. She was honored on the Ellen Degeneres Show in 2015. (Read more dress code stories.)

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