Some students believe that the new dress code at Boston Latin School in Massachusetts unfairly targets females and minorities because it regulates how short skirts and shorts can be, and bans gang-related clothing or colors.
Liliana Severin, a 17-year-old student who opposes the new rules, told WBZ, "The message I hope to send while we’re in here is that the business of education can coexist with a woman choosing what she wants to wear."
The new dress code also forbids see-through clothing, spaghetti straps, hats and leggings (worn without shorts or skirts).
"After reading [the new dress code], it seemed it was mostly addressed to girls and people of color," Severin told the Boston Herald. "It enforces the sexualization of a young girl’s body. It’s unacceptable to be teaching them that at a young age, especially considering we have 12-year-olds at school."
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Over 500 students signed a Change.org petition that said the dress code promoted "a patriarchal society where men can decide whether a female’s clothing is appropriate or inappropriate," and that the code asserted that girls’ bodies are a "sinful temptation that needs to be covered up at all costs in order for others to focus on their education."
The petition also called for Interim Headmaster Michael Contompasis and the school to reconsider the clothing rules.
Contompasis, who met with the students on Oct. 24, told WBZ: "I’ve indicated and made it clear that leggings are appropriate."
As far the gang-related colors, Severin said: "It’s hard to tell what’s a gang and what’s not and that will target some students of color more than it will target white students and that could lead to conflicts in the future."
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"We agreed on most of these issues, we agreed also to disagree about a couple of things," Contompasis added.
He asked some students, including Severin, to be part of a new committee that will contribute to a new comprehensive Boston Latin clothing policy for 2017.
"I’m happy, and I think it’s a step in the right direction," Severin stated.