Dress codes themselves are already a huge topic of discussion around the U.S., but these teens from North Carolina are bringing attention to another gigantic problem with school enforcing rules about what students can wear: the shaming and harassment that follows when students don’t follow the regulations.
When the Charleston County School of the Arts created a new rule that girls violating the dress code would be sent out of class and not allowed to return until they did so, female students decided to doing something about it.
Last week, over 100 young women showed up at their school wearing red ‘As’ on their clothing, a nod to the book The Scarlet Letter as a means of protest. (It should also be noted that the book is widely taught in high schools nationwide, so it’s a one-two punch!)
the dresscode is important as it promotes a comfortable and professional learning environment. however, there is nothing comfortable or professional about being told you’re “asking for it” or “selling yourself in the wrong way” or being told your body is “gross”. I’m so proud to stand among my peers as we stand up for what’s right, and that is everyone should be treated with respect. #notadistractionsoa
Reese Fischer, one of the organizers of the movement, explained that the issue for them isn’t necessarily the dress code; it’s the new policy for insubordinate dress coupled with the verbal harassment young women at the school have received from teachers. “The teachers at our school insert their own comments like ‘you’re selling yourself in the wrong way’ or ‘you’re asking for it,'” she told The Huffington Post.
HI!!!! As many of you heard there’s a new dress code policy being enforced as of tomorrow that will require students to leave class and sit in the office until their dress code violation is ‘dealt with’. Also, for a teacher to send you to the office they do NOT have to dictate whether or not you’re in dress code, simply question it. Many students find it incredibly offensive that their outfits are being held at a higher importance than their education. many ideas have been tossed around about how to let admin know that we are dissatisfied with the way they’re handling dress code violations. the solution we’ve reached is : Tomorrow, September 24th 2015, it would be AWESOME if we could get as many people as possible to incorporate a red A into their outfits as the red A is a famous symbol for ‘sin’. We’ll keep this page updated as frequently as possible so that the movement is cohesive and effective. Thank you for standing up for what’s fair. (that everyone should be treated with equal respect) IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING PLEASE JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT “NOT ‘A’ DISTRACTION” A photo posted by REESE FISCHER (@reesefisch) on
Fischer and others hope that the movement sparks conversations about and action towards how schools police women’s bodies, which can have harmful effects on young people as they grow older.
For more information, check out Not ‘A’ Distraction’s Facebook page.
Cover image courtesy of Not ‘A’ Distraction.