Violation: Leggings as Pants
It's the age-old question: Are leggings pants? Macy Edgerly sure seemed to think so, when she was sent home from her Texas school in for violating Orangefield High School's dress code (the old finger-tip rule will get you every time) for pairing leggings with an oversized T-shirt.
Her sister took to Facebook to stand up for her sister and "for women who are degraded and judged for their bodies or what they wear." The post went viral, now being shared more than 96,000 times.
Violation: Too-Short Shorts
Catherine Pearlman, another flabbergasted mom, posted on Instagram the story of her middle-school daughter’s dress-code mishap. After being dress-coded two days in a row for “dressing inappropriately,” Pearlman decided to take her daughter’s fate into her own hands and wrote a hilariously detailed and sardonic letter to the principal.
Posted to Today.com, Pearlman’s letter included both a challenge to the school board to try and find “appropriate” clothing for her daughter and exposed their sexist comments. “I forgot to thank you for making it clear to my daughter that her body is somehow a distraction, either to herself or to the boys,”Pearlman wrote. “I thought she might have missed the message earlier in the year when the gym teacher told her she couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys aren’t able to control themselves.”
Violation: "Sausage Rolls"
As if high school isn't already hard enough for girls as it is, the officials at Biglerville High School in Pennsylvania decided to add to the drama with condescending (not to mention sexist) rules. A dress code memo for an awards assembly went home with the school's senior students and inevitably ended up on the internet, for all the world to see.
It included some common sense rules, like "choose modest attire" and "a skirt or nice slacks would be appropriate," but ended on a digusting note: "Please remember as you select an outfit for the awards assembly that we don't want to be looking at 'sausage rolls' as Mr. Elliott calls them. As you get dressed remember that you can't put 10 pounds of mud in a five-pound sack."
Violation: Bare Shoulders
According to Lone Peak High School's dress code, "Girls' dresses and tops must have a 2" minimum strap on each shoulder." 16-year-old Gabi Finlayson's prom dress clearly met that standard, right?
Not according to the Utah school's dress code enforcers. Gabi was forced to either leave or wear a coat over her dress upon arriving at prom, to which she chose the latter. Regardless of whether or not her daughter violated her school's dress code, Kathy Kimball was shocked and disgusted. “How have we gotten to the point that we look at shoulders as if they're somehow pornographic?" Kimball told local TV station KUTV. "As if they are this shameful thing.”
Violation: Bare Shoulders
17-year-old Cam Boland was stripped of her National Honor Society title within the same hour that she won the title. Why? Because she gave her speech in a dress with spaghetti straps. But here's the catch (well, multiple catches): One, the speech didn't take place at her own school (Fort Myers High School). Two, the speech was not given during school hours - it was technically part of an extracurricular activity. And three, Cam claims she was originally wearing a jacket over her dress, but took it off because of the hot Florida weather.
Cam and her mother fought the Florida school's decision, and on June 4, 2015, Cam won back her position as historian.
Violation: Bright Hair
West County High School junior Savannah Keesee was suspsended from school in after she died her hair a darker shade of red. According to Savannah, the principal called her hair "really bright" and said she couldn't return to school until she changed it.
Savannah has since died her hair back to a light auburn shade and returned to school in Missouri.
Violation: Too-Short Dress
West Side High School senior Evette Reay was suspended on her last day of high school for breaking the Idaho school's dress code and refusing to change clothes. Evette's mother, Michelle, told the Idaho State Journal that she had approved of her daughter's dress that morning since it was beyond finger-tip length.
Evette has since graduated, but still hopes to see change in high school dress codes. "You should dress for success, but you should be comfortable too," she told the Idaho State Journal.
Violation: Bra Straps
Friends Mallory Johnson and Grace Wood of Essex District High School in Ontario protested the suspension of girls whose bra straps were visible. After the vice principal saw them hanging posters saying, “Stop objectifying women,” yet were still suspended for breaking the dress code.
Essex’s principal Mike Hawkins told the CBC that, apparently, “anyone needs approval to post anything around the school.” But are the posters really the problem? We don’t think so. *cough* sexism *cough*.
Violation: Crop Top
In May 2015, after getting in trouble for wearing a crop top that multiple teachers said resembled a sports bra, Alexi Halket decided to organize Crop Top Day at her school in Toronto. More than 500 students at Etobicoke High School of the Arts joined her.
"This is much bigger than what I'm wearing," Alexi told PEOPLE. "This is about women's rights and the objectification of our bodies."
Violation: No Bra
In 2018, high-school junior Lizzy Martinez was humiliated after her teacher called her out of class for going braless due to a sunburn. Even worse, the dean of the school decided that covering Martinez’s nipples with Band-Aids was the only solution to keep from “distracting the boys in class.”
Lizzy Martinez wrote this on Twitter following the incident: “I decided not to wear a bra today and got pulled out of class bc one of my teachers complained that it was a ‘distraction to boys in my class.’ My school basically told me that boys’ education is far more important than mine and I should be ashamed of my body.”
Violation: Bare Shoulders
Grace Goble’s 2017-2018 senior portrait is classy and beautiful, yes? Main South High School in Park ridge, IL, begged to differ. Goblewas informed she’d have to retake the photo because the sweater exposed her shoulders, despite wearing the very same sweater to school on multiple occasions without anyone giving “a second thought.”
Thus, she took to Change.org to tell her story and “propose a change to the Maine South High School dress code.” Since the incident in 2017, the petition has gathered nearly 3,500 signatures.
Violation: Too-Short Dress
Two hours before the end of her last day of high school in June 2014, Violet Burkhart was sent home for violating her North Carolina school's dress code. The reason? Her dress, which she claims to have worn at least five times previously, was measured by Central Davidson High School officials and declared inappropriate.
But Violet's mother, Amy, got the last laugh, when she wore her daughter's "inappropriate" dress to Violet's graduation. Their story and selfies went viral as well, which is just icing on the cake.
Violation: Wrong Crew Neck
In 2017, Tori Taylor, who was a high-school senior at the time, was pulled out of class alongside several other students for “breaking” the dress code. What was she wearing? A crew-neck top. Apparently, the cut of the crew neck wasn’t right despite it having sleeves and covering her body, as the dress code policy stated.
“I just feel it needs to be explained better,” Taylor told Nashville’s News Channel 5. “They need to do a better job presenting it to us.” But Principal Joey Holley didn’t back down, firing back this response: “As a reminder, we have communicated with students, parents, and community our dress code expectations for this school year." Um, obviously they weren’t clear enough!
Violation: Exposed Collarbones
Woodford County High School mom Stacie Dunn was outraged when her daughter was found standing in the office with a group of female students whose outfits were deemed too inappropriate for school. Her daughter was called out of class because her shirt exposed her collarbone; the cardigan she’s wearing wasn’t enough!
“This is ridiculous!” Dunn wrote on Facebook above a photo of her daughter’s outfit. “Parents are being called away from their important jobs and students are missing important class time because they are showing their collarbones! Something needs to change!”
Violation: Two-Piece Swimsuits
This pool party invitation discouraging young girls from showing their swimsuits went viral after Indianapolis local Jennifer Smith posted it to the Facebook Group "Feminism on Facebook." She tried emailing Rhoades Elementary's principal, and when that didn't work, she went to the superintendent, who changed the rule to say that T-shirts were optional for all.
According to Jennifer's son (via Huffington Post), no girls wore T-shirts to the pool party.