Controversial Dress Ban

Prom-dressProm is not cheap.  Dressing for prom will drain your wallet even more.

So, what happens when you find an affordable prom gown that flatters your figure, but you can’t wear it to the big dance because of a new school dress code?

That’s the dilemma facing eighth grade girls at Readington Middle School in New Jersey.  The school principal recently decided to ban strapless dresses from the year-end dinner dance, but did so after some parents had already forked over a pretty penny for their daughters’ fancy shoulder-baring frocks.

Dozens of moms and dads are now taking to social and mainstream media outlets to cry foul regarding the dress ban.  One mom told a local newspaper that the rule is “arbitrary, sexist and a violation of her daughter’s 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection.”  What’s more, the irate parents maintain that strapless dresses were allowed in previous years.

“I’m objecting to the fact that government can come in and change the rules without asking parents. That’s an abuse of authority,” mom Charlotte Nijenhuis told reporters.

As for the principal, Sharon Moffat says she sent parents a letter, which said that “young gentlemen are encouraged to wear collared shirts and trousers; many boys wear ties or jackets. Young ladies should wear a skirt, dress with straps, or dressy pants outfit. Jeans or sneakers are not appropriate for this event.”

Moffat went on to explain that revealing strapless dresses “distract boys” and are “inappropriate” for young girls.

To which Nijenhuis responded:  “It is neither a woman’s nor a girl’s responsibility to control a man’s or boy’s behavior.”

I’m all for keeping 8th grade girls covered up; however, if you’ve perused the mall recently, you may have noticed that dress manufacturers don’t make many conservative options.

Think about it; when was the last time you saw a formal gown with straps?

Tracking down a non-strapless wedding gown is even tougher.

As for the issue of money and the amount already spent by some families to purchase strapless dresses for their daughters, I can understand the frustration.

What do you make of the controversy?  Do you think the principal made the right call?



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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.