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Backlash on Principal's Prom Mandate: Why Just the Girls?

Principal says female attendees need to get their outfits approved ahead of time
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2020 11:10 AM CST
Updated Mar 6, 2020 11:32 AM CST

(Newser) – A mandate sent out by a high school principal in Louisiana about the upcoming prom and the attire that female attendees are allowed to wear is getting mixed reaction. NBC News reports that Kim Pendleton, who only recently took on the principal job at Shreveport's Southwood High School, sent a text to students noting that all girls coming to the prom—whether they're students at Southwood or students' dates from elsewhere—have to send her a picture of what they're planning on wearing to the event beforehand. "As you begin shopping for your attire, please make sure you do not purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner," the text reads, per ArkLaTex.com. "Also, make sure we [do] not see excess cleavage or skin." Pendleton adds in the text that once she gives the thumbs-up, the future promgoer can then make the purchase.

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There's no mention in the text about outfits for male attendees—which has some people irritated. "Why are we only checking the girls?" a listener commented to local radio station KEEL. Others, however, think Pendleton did the students, and the community, a favor. "Do you know WHY she has to do this? Because the parents of these girls WONT do it!!!" one local parent noted, per NBC. A man whose granddaughter goes to Southwood tells ArkLaTex.com he also understands, as "some young ladies ... are raising themselves more or less and they can get a little bit provocative." In a statement to NBC, Pendleton says she initiated this directive after some parents and staff complained about inappropriate dress at past events. "A decision was made to proactively work with families to ensure parents would not spend money on a dress which would be turned away for being inappropriate," she says. (Read more high school prom stories.)

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