Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dress code equality for students

Alvin Independent School District located in Pearland, Texas is re-evaluating the dress code policy after an unnamed male at Shadow Creek High School received in-school suspension for wearing makeup.

In Alvin ISD dress code, it directly stated that,“boys may not wear makeup and earrings.” The boy was asked, “Remove the makeup or go to ISS.” He decided not to remove the makeup, according to KHOU11, Houston’s news channel.

The boy is currently a cosmetology student in the high school’s program. Shadow Creek High School student Jasmin Richards said her friend was unaware the policy prohibited boys from wearing makeup.

Word of the incident spread and students within the district launched a petition in defense of the boy.

“Based entirely on outdated and sexist gender standards,” the petition read, “we are asking for Alvin ISD to review and modify their dress code so that it is free of gender discrimination.”

“If girls should be able to wear makeup, then a boy should have no problem doing the same thing if that’s how he wants to express himself,” Jasmin Richards told KHOU11.

Richards began the online petition with the goal of gaining 1,500 signatures. The goal has long since been reached.

Thanks to the success of the petition, the school district organized a meeting with students to discuss the topic further. This made the students feel heard and reassured that there would be actions taken.

The Assistant Superintendent Daniel Combs said this was a good learning opportunity for the district.Combs told KHOU11, “ The dress code is not set in stone and is reviewed every couple of years at most.”

The parents have been conflicted about the subject. One parent Luke Perry told KHOU11,“ I don’t know. If it was my kid, I wouldn’t want him wearing makeup to school.”

Another parent named Kim Becker said,“ We are in an environment these days that we should embrace everybody.”

“Knowing it’s from Texas, I’m not shocked at all,” PSUC Violence Prevention Education and Outreach coordinator, Zyaijah Nadler said.“ The fact that it’s written in policy, it’s hard to get around it because no one person is creating the policy alone.”

Nadler was unaware until recently about the incident. Nadler said that the message she feels it’s sending is that there is much more to do in terms of understanding each other. She said people should not be confined, they should be given opportunities. She believes that awareness is part of the steps needed to be taken to prevent these incidents.

“I feel extremely bad. I feel I could make a difference if I were aware before. I didn’t know until you told me,” a LGBTQ memberer, intern at Title IX and Radius, Ha Nguyen said.

Nguyen feels that boys not wearing makeup is because we need to analyze the context of the current education system. Nguyen said there is not enough diversity in school and at the administrative level.

“They want a heteronormative narrative. Bigotry and narrow mindedness is being perpetuated by theses educational institutes,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen considers these actions toxic because they oppress the individual, traumatizes them and validates homophobic kids. She said petitioning is a good thing to do that he wore makeup at his own expense even after being told to remove it.

PSUC Coordinator of Multicultural Initiatives Mona El-Shahat said, “It’s sexist and the student is a cosmetology student, so clearly he’s gonna use it.”

Nguyen said if she could speak to the boy, she would say, “You are being so brave, keep doing it! You are educating people more than the professors at the school you attend.”

 

 

Email Daneane Johnson at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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