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School Changes Dress Code After Mom Asks Principal To Take Daughter Clothes Shopping

Nominally, school dress codes include some outfits that boys wear (“no excessively baggy jeans..”) but by and large, dress codes are about policing girls’ bodies.

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Catherine Pearlman was having none of it.

She spoke up about her daughter being punished for her height and policed for wearing *checks notes* shorts.

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But they’re not even short, shorts, IMHO.

Instagram @catherinepearlman

Pearlman opens her letter:

“Dear Middle School Principal: Thank you for sending a note home for the second day in a row to say my daughter was dressed inappropriately for school,”

She continues:

“I’d like to offer an additional thank you for forcing her to change into large mesh shorts that have been worn by only god knows who and potentially never washed.

To reward you for treating my daughter with such concern, I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping.

Here are the specifications you have to work with. I wish you loads of luck.

She is 5’7” and 13 years old. Built more like her father, she has exceptionally long legs and arms. She doesn’t like anything pink or purple or frilly.

Catherine’s daughter has a particular taste, which her mom noted in the letter. She doesn’t like “frilly” stuff or logos, but she is into superheroes and Green Day.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Catherine asks the principal to find clothes that meet the idiotic “fingertip test”.

She doesn’t like anything pink or purple or frilly.

She won’t wear pants because she gets overheated easily. Trust me I’ve seen this. It will cause a scene in the school yard.

She absolutely will not wear a dress either.

No item of clothing can have a logo visible because to her that’s not cool. She will however, wear any type of superhero, Green Day or USFL T-shirt if you can find them. You might be able to try for an occasional Beatles reference but that’s touch and go.

Now, don’t forget that you will have to find something in the stores that also meets with your dress code requirements. Here are the tricky areas that are most difficult to avoid. As per your policy she cannot wear tank tops. Shorts and skirts must not extend to the end of the fingertips (This is a toughie.)

So, if I were you (and I’m glad I’m not) I’d focus on the shorts first. She has very long fingers which seems to make finding shorts that won’t get her sent to the principal’s office impossible (On the bright side the piano teacher says those fingers are an asset.). I’d schedule a few afternoons and weekends for this endeavor. I can tell you from experience that just heading to the mall, Target and the outlets won’t cut it. Not much for her there. I’ve already checked.

One last point: please try to stay within a reasonable budget. We can’t spend a fortune on her wardrobe. She is still growing after all.

I thank you endlessly for taking on this chore. What a relief for me.


Sick Of The Dress Code Mom

Catherine Pearlman

She also added a delightful PS:

P.S. 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. 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. I appreciate how hard you are working to drive the point home.

Catherine also added an update:

UPDATE: After this incident I posted a letter to the principal asking her to take my daughter shopping because I was sick of the dress code and because it was impossible to find clothes. Anyway as you may have seen the letter went viral.

Since then our district (50k students) changed the code and it’s no longer acceptable to say girls are a distraction. The code is also more flexible in what can be worn.

Photo by Marlon Alves on Unsplash

ORIGINAL POST: My girl was dress coded two days in a row.

It’s impossible to find shorts that are remotely fashionable and below her finger tips. She’s tall with long arms and fingers.

One more code and she will have detention. And making the policy even more frustrating is that there isn’t a dress code for high school.