They are called “Modesty Ponchos” by administrators at Divine Child Catholic High School. It’s new this year to keep female students in line with the dress code at prom. What do you think? pic.twitter.com/hd2NM3CvKP— Jessica Dupnack (@JDupnackFOX2) April 30, 2018
Women have been facing discrimination on many fronts when compared with men, but a Catholic high school in Michigan just went a little too far in an attempt to keep its female students from revealing too much skin.
Divine Child High School suggested a “modesty poncho” for the girls who were planning to wear dresses that were too revealing for prom according to the school’s standards.
"If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements — no problem! We've got you covered — literally. This is our Modesty Poncho, which you'll be given at the door. :)," read a mannequin displayed at the school.
The male students weren’t given any such instructions.
This hollow idea was naturally criticized by many parents and alumni.
The prom is scheduled for May 12, but instead of looking forward to this rite of passage, many students and their parents are now upset.
"We are trying focus on the inner beauty and not draw attention to something that doesn't need attention drawn to it," said theology teacher Mary Pat O'Malley. She was the one who originally came up with the idea of the modesty poncho. "It was really intended as a deterrent and a light-hearted one at that," she said defending the poncho.
On the other hand, many girls who were all set for the prom had to return their dresses and get new ones made, because they naturally didn’t want to wear the poncho. If anything, this policy just discriminates against the young women, because the boys weren’t given any instructions to stay modest.
"It takes moments for anything to blow up online, especially in an environment where society is finally taking into account the fact that woman and girls have been singled out from men and systemically disrespected since pre-history," said Jeff Birchmeier, an alumnus.
After facing backlash, principal Eric Haley sent out a letter to parents that read, “Our intention with displaying the poncho was never to make students feel uncomfortable, but to remind all students and parents of our formal prom dress policy, which has not changed for several years. To be clear: The poncho will not be passed out at prom. It was on display to proactively remind students of our dress code policies and eliminate any confusion prior to this special event."
Divine Child junior Erin was delighted to learn the school wasn’t planning on giving out ponchos anymore. She had made a dress but then ordered another one thinking its neckline was perhaps too revealing. Either way, she ordered a new dress because she didn’t want to wear the poncho.
"I have some dresses coming in the mail. We'll see how those go," she said.
"Especially if you bring a girl from another school, and you take them to prom and they come in and have to put that on, imagine how embarrassed they would feel," said John, a 17-year-old student at of the school.
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