After issuing “thousands of hours of detention” to students modifying the length of uniform skirts, Principal Kevin Calkins sent news of the ban to students in an email on Friday, local media reported. In the email, Calkins wrote that the dress code exists to foster a faith-based environment where students are focused on learning and not outward appearances.
“Male faculty feel uncomfortable addressing female students about the length of their skirts, even female faculty have expressed frustration with the ongoing challenge of dress code,” Calkins wrote in the email.
Mind you, the new rule is not to ban short skirts — most public schools have similar rules — but to ban skirts altogether. Girls will now only be allowed to wear long pants or (what are they thinking?) Bermuda shorts.
Several girls at the school protested the decision yesterday morning with signs saying things like “I’m sorry… Did my knees distract you from reading this poster?” “Even Jesus wore a skirt” and “Stop sexism. Start education.”
(One sign said “My body, my choice”… which suggests a complete ignorance of Catholic dogma.)
They raise some good points, though. If the skirts are too short, then the school should enforce its own rules. If the appropriate-length skirts are a distraction, then the school should say something to the men. It’s ultimately not the girls’ fault that other people can’t deal with their fashion. And why did the school make girls pay for special uniforms that are now banned only for them?
The girls also point out an obvious double standard: The school has a rule prohibiting facial hair on boys, too, but they’re not very strict about enforcing that. A girl wears a comfortable skirt, however, and all hell breaks loose.
An anonymous and brief petition posted at Change.org calls for the skirts to remain in place. It has thousands of signatures, and the comments are a joy to read:
Ok so the reasoning behind this was that “male teachers are uncomfortable”. If a male teacher feels uncomfortable over the length of a MINOR’S skirt, they have no business being anywhere near a high school. Maybe try to crack down on that rather than continuing to sexualize underage girls?
Tell the boys to keep their eyes up and there won’t be a dang issue
Girls’ clothing at school especially should allow them to feel comfortable in their bodies, not restricted by the opinion of faculty with a superiority complex and need to dictate their bodies. The challenges and complexities of being a growing teenage girl do not need to be heightened by further unnecessary dress codes that instill in girls what is or isn’t “appropriate” through the lens of adults unfamiliar with the pressures and anxieties of being a teenage girl in 2019.
At least there’s one upside to the change:
“Oh my gosh it is so bad right now,” said Mimi Cleary, another student. “Everyone wants to leave Cathedral, and it’s like not the best.”
Well, at least they’re quickly learning what it means to be a woman in the Catholic Church. If they have the option to leave, they should take it.