Controversy is brewing in one New Hampshire high school over what some students are calling a sexist and outdated dress code. Now a group of students are working to change it.
A group of students are making it clear they’re not fighting for the right to wear short shorts. They say it is a social issue far more important than that.
“I think it's sexism starting at a young age,” said Pinkerton Academy Junior Madelaine Rodriguez.
She and her friends are accusing school leaders of enforcing a dress code that objectifies women.
“You shouldn’t humiliate a girl for wearing shorts, instead teach guys not to treat us as sexual objects,” Rodriguez said.
Much of the controversy started when Aliya Dow took to Facebook to post a picture of her wearing one of her favorite dresses.
“It was a very nice dress, I think,” Dow said in an interview Monday.
The Pinkerton junior says because she was in violation of the knee-length rule, she was forced to put on leggings to avoid being sent to the office and missing class.
“It’s a five minute walk, five minutes in there, it would’ve been 15 minutes of my class time,” Dow said.
Her post got more than 150 comments, most of which echoed her concerns about what some are calling an unreasonably strict dress code filled with double standards.
“They’re very strict toward enforcing it to girls, but guys are showing up in muscle tops so lose you can see their nipple,” said Emma Groenewal, a Pinkerton sophomore.
These students say what’s worse, is the message behind the rules.
“A teacher came up to me and put a ruler to my shoulder and said, ‘That’s inappropriate, I’ll send you to the office,’ I said, ‘Well, why?’ and he said, ‘Because I don’t want other boys looking at your chest and shoulders,’” Rodriguez recalled.
Pinkerton’s headmaster says the dress code is the result of a community-wide discussion five years ago. These students say it’s time for a change.
“We’re not fighting for booty shorts, we’re fighting for compromise,” Dow said.
“We just want respect,” Groenewal said.
School leaders were not available to talk on Monday, but said the Dean of Students will be leading a task force this summer to address the dress code concerns.