While most teens are getting ready to start a new school year, 16-year-old Emily Connolly of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is putting together a protest.
Connolly is going into her junior year at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, a vocational school that has banned hats, tank tops, and visible undergarments.
The latest type of clothing banned by the school is yoga pants and leggings. Connolly thinks that the new dress code policy body-shames female students, so she is encouraging her friends and fellow students to wear yoga pants and leggings on the first day of school next week.
Robert Sanborn III, the school district's superintendent, said that the school's policy was put in place to help prepare students for their futures by giving them "soft skills employees seek, including an awareness of appropriate dress for appropriate venues."
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Connolly and her friends say that the policy targets female students.
"Many of us think that it is because it's considered more of a distraction to boys," she said. “We can’t help we were born girls. A pair of pants shouldn’t change a way of learning or attending classes just because they can be considered a distraction. We have voices at Cape Tech, and they need to be heard.”
Connolly created a Facebook event for Sept. 2 titled "First Day = Yoga Pants" in which she asks her classmates to wear yoga pants on the first day of class.
Sanborn saw the event and said that the school does not plan to punish any students who wear yoga pants or leggings on the first day. He said that they plan to handle the protest with a "light touch."
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“When we institute policies such as this, we don’t take a heavy-handed approach,” Sanborn said. “It’s going to be a teachable moment. ... It’s going to take dialogue with our students.”