Houston high school establishes dress code – for parents!


Hailey Deitelbaum, Staff Reporter

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Earlier this month, James Madison High School in Houston issued a new dress code, but this time, for parents.

On April 9, Mrs. Carlota Outley Brown, principal of the high school, sent a letter home that included a list of clothing that parents cannot wear inside the school.

“Hair rollers”, “pajamas of any kind”, “hair bonnets”, and “leggings that are showing your bottom and where your body is not covered from the front or the back” were some of the things on the list.

Following the list, the newsletter states, “Please know that if you break our school rules/policies or do not follow one of these rules, you will not be permitted inside the school until you return appropriately dressed for the school setting.

“We are preparing your child for a prosperous future. We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not for any setting they might be,” stated Mrs. Brown in the newsletter.

Of course, there has been quite an uproar since the release of this newsletter.

“I’m almost insulted. 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. This is a failing school. You have other things to worry about than my attire,” commented Tomiko Miller, a parent of a current student.

All schools have dress codes, some more strict than others, but no one has ever seen one for parents. As they should, parents think the policy is over the top, unnecessary, and, ultimately, the last concern of school officials. The list is very specific and targets clothing items and accessories that should be no bother to the students and staff in the school.

Of course, parents should not be coming in out of control with multiple body parts showing, however, as Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, says, “Turning someone away because their hair is in rollers is a little ridiculous.”

It also seems that the school has failed to consider why some parents may be coming into the school. Sometimes there is no time to take out hair curlers, take off a bonnet, or take off leggings, sometimes parents just drop everything and get to the school immediately. Other times, a parent may have had a hectic day and are in a rush to when having to go to the school.

One parent, Rosemary Young, was picking up her kid when she was handed a copy of the dress code because she was wearing a satin cap. She said that her younger son had just broken his arm so she was in a rush to pick up her other children.

“What I wear should never be an issue. I’m not revealing. I don’t have any weapons,” stated Young.

The school district and Brown did not comment. Perhaps they are taking another look at their parent dress code.