• Students, parents say Illinois high school dress code unfairly targets girls

    By: Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    LOMBARD, Ill. - Some students at a Chicago-area high school and their parents are criticizing a dress code policy prohibiting students from showing their shoulders, saying it unfairly targets female students.

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    When starting class at Glenbard East High School last week, some girls wearing tank tops were called aside by administrators and made to wear bright orange T-shirts, local media reported.

    Chloe Lynch, a junior at Glenbard East, was one such student. When she asked an administrator why she was being made to cover up, Lynch said, the administrator replied that it was because boys were looking at her.

    “I see no issues with dress code policies, but it was just very much so implying that girls are the reason for boys looking at you,” Lynch told WBBM-TV. “It isn’t the boys’ fault, and it’s because what you are wearing, which I thought was not acceptable.”

    Boys wearing muscle shirts were not given the same treatment, Lynch told WGN-TV. In protest, some boys wore muscle shirts to school Thursday with stickers on their shoulders that read, "Distracting?"

    The school handbook says, "Clothing considered to be revealing and does not adequately cover the front, back, sides, shoulders or midriff is prohibited on males and females."

    Some parents told local media that the rule hasn't been enforced the same way in years' past.

    “I can tell you outright the students were being shamed,” Deanna Breen, whose daughter is a sophomore at the school, told The Chicago Tribune. Breen's daughter wasn't one of the students who received a dress code violation, but Breen said she was "shocked" to hear from her daughter about how the policy was being enforced.

    “It’s a dunce shirt, really,” Breen said. “They chose bright orange to make them stand out. They could’ve chosen white shirts, but they want to humiliate and punish them.”

    Breen pointed out that the school's cheerleading uniforms and dance uniforms are sleeveless.

    "What is that saying to girls? 'You can’t wear that to school, but you can wear it at a game or a performance where people pay to come watch you?'” she said.

    Glenbard East Principal Shahe Bagdasarian emailed a statement to parents that said, in part:

    “We continue to work tirelessly to educate all students while maintaining a safe and productive learning environment. If families have questions or concerns, please reach out to us to ask questions, verify facts and discuss your concerns. We value communication and collaboration with all our students and families.”

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