High school implements dress code for parents: 'I'm almost insulted'

Kerry Justich

A high school in Houston is gaining attention after recently implementing a new dress code aimed at parents.

The announcement from James Madison High School principal, Carlotta Outley Brown, dated April 9, came just one day after a local parent was turned away from the school when she attempted to enroll her daughter in classes. The mother said that the reason behind the denied entry was her clothing.

At the time, Joselyn Lewis told Houston station KPRC that administrators at the high school told her that she “was not in dress code.” When she asked to see a dress code document for parents, however, the school couldn’t provide one. Now, a document outlining what parents should not be wearing is living on the homepage of the school’s website.

A few items on the list are seemingly inspired by Lewis’ attire, which included a head scarf and t-shirt dress deemed unacceptable by administrators. But other parents have also admitted to feeling upset over the first rule targeting women in bonnets.

The principal of James Madison High School in Houston has implemented a new dress code for parents. (Photo: James Madison High School)
The principal of James Madison High School in Houston has implemented a new dress code for parents. (Photo: James Madison High School)

“I’m almost insulted,” Tomiko Miller, the mother of another Madison High School student, told the Houston Chronicle. “I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used. It was demeaning. And I’m African-American — and if it’s misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business.”

The president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, Zeph Capo, also spoke to the Houston outlet, and called codes related to women’s hair “classist,” “belittling” and “dismissive.”

“Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do?” Capo questioned. “Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial.”

Despite the upset that’s resulted from the dress code, Brown wrote in the letter announcing it that these guidelines were necessary for “preparing our children for the future.”

“You are your child’s first teacher,” the letter reads. “Please know we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards. We are preparing your child for a prosperous future.”

As of Tuesday, it seems that the dress code has only been implemented at this high school. Administrators from Houston Independent School District declined Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

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