A high school principal is facing backlash from parents over a new policy that changed the way students would prepare for the year’s biggest dance.
Kim Pendleton, the principal at Southwood High School in Shreveport, La., sent out a school-wide statement saying she would need to fully approve every female students’ prom outfit prior to the event, KTAL-TV reported.
The announcement, sent out as a text message, told the girls they would have to send Pendleton a photo of the dress they wanted to wear, which could not be “sheer or revealing in any manner” or showing any “excess cleavage or skin.”
“Once I approve the outfit, you may purchase it. The approved outfit is the only one you will be allowed to wear to prom,” the message, obtained by KTAL-TV, read.
The guideline, which also applied to any female prom dates who were not Southwood students, reportedly stemmed from concerns parents had raised after prior events. Pendleton told NBC News in a statement that she had not received any complaints about the boys’ attire.
Pendleton’s decision divided parents, many of whom said the rule overstepped a line and put an unfair burden on female students.
“This is crazy,” one person wrote on Facebook about the guideline. “Now just [saying] to not be so revealing is understandable but … having to send a pic for approval is just ridiculous.”
“Why ruin an important experience by telling these girls how to dress at a dance?” another added.
“It should be the parents’ say-so instead of the principal, so I think that’s just totally wrong,” Jakarius Simpson, whose sister is a junior at Southwood, told KTAL-TV.
But plenty of people were also supportive of the new rule, saying Pendleton was well within her rights to restrict the dress code.
“Unfortunately many come looking like they are going to a pole dance instead of a prom dance,” one person wrote on Facebook. “Parents need to advise girls about what is appropriate for a school dance and still be beautiful. Plenty of choices are available. The school shouldn’t have to monitor the dresses but someone needs to.”
“What an amazing administrator!” another commented.
The Caddo Parish Schools school district, which includes Southwood, has also stood by Pendleton’s decision, backing the principal in a statement released on March 3.
“In April, Southwood will host their annual prom and school administration has taken a proactive approach of asking parents for photos ahead of their upcoming event,” the statement read. “It is a school-level decision for all formal dress to be approved prior to the event.”
Additionally, the district said that the school would hold an assembly where parents could voice their concerns.
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