A group of male students at Buchanan High School swapped clothes with their female counterparts in a move to address the school’s sexist and obsolete dress codes.
The gender-swap came in wake of the rejection of California's Clovis United School District to update the dress code, which prohibits boys from wearing earrings or long hair and girls from wearing leggings or miniskirts.
To show their disapproval, many students came to class wearing clothes associated with the opposite gender — boys wore dresses (some even with spaghetti straps), while girls donned "boys'" clothes complete with collared and cuffed shirts. They also started a petition against the decades-old dress code and urged the school board to consider a new, gender-neutral dress code. The petition already has more than 3,300 signatures.
What hurts your district's image more: a kid with piercings or a board who doesn't believe gender equality is a valid idea to be considered— Nicholas Crespin (@CrespinNicholas) January 28, 2016
“The reason we switched gender norms for the day was to make the statement that what we wear does not define us as students. Our district’s dress code should not favor or discriminate any gender,” Emma Sledd, a student campaigning against the dress rules quotes. “We believe everyone should be able to express themselves equally. A boy with long hair is no less of a hard worker than a girl with long hair.”
Another concern for the students is that dress codes provide further cause to discriminate against transgender students, who already are a marginalized group in the city.
“If a student has come to the administration, we’ll work with them to make sure that they have an environment on campus that allows them to express themselves with the gender in which they identify,” Kelly Avants, the district spokeswoman, said.
The school district is getting ready for a legal battle with American Civil Liberty Union, which argues the decade-old policy directly violates schools’ education codes.
Clovis is just the latest school in the string of dress code controversies. 2015 was rife with complaints from students (albeit mostly female ones) and parents who denounce the absurd and extreme dress policies enforced by school administrations.