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"I do think the intent of board policy and administrative guidelines is to not treat young men and women differently," Kite said.The Lyttles asked Northview Middle School principal Matt Kaiser to hold conversations with families and students about what the dress code should look like.Still, how long shorts and skirts should be, and whether leggings can be worn as pants, remained a contentious issue.Some supported more freedom as an issue of equality; others out of simple choice. It's about learning," said Joshua Glore, 13, eighth grade.The dress code policy laid out values, including that all students should be able to dress comfortably without being afraid of body shaming, and that all students and staff are responsible for managing their own "distractions." "The point," said Frack, "is that girls don't feel like their bodies are something that's relevant at school, other than their brains and to walk down the hall or run in gym." Some people may favor more conservative or modest attire.That should be up to families to decide for themselves, Frack said — not schools.
It's the girls who are taken out of class to change their clothes.In one Washington Township middle school, the dress code advises: Don't wear skirts shorter than your fingertips.Don't wear leggings unless you cover your butt with a long shirt. But some students and parents worry the message the dress code sends to girls is: Even if that's not the intent, it's an early message, they say, that blames girls for boys' bad behavior.But school policy deemed that her clothing seemed "to interfere with the educational process," and so Lyttle picked up her daughter and took her home to change."It made me feel like my body wasn't acceptable," Addie Lyttle, an eighth grader, told Indy Star.
"A lot of people have a problem with how girls dress these days — they think it's too sexualized," said Lisa Frack, president of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Women, which has published a model dress code. We live in this culture where what we're really bothered by is the hyper-sexualization of girls. Some schools, such as Herron High School, require uniforms to create a professional atmosphere and downplay socioeconomic differences.