Teen Argues School's Dress Code Unfairly Targets Female Students

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Lydia Cleveland.Lydia Cleveland.

Lydia Cleveland, a senior at James River High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia, is calling out her school’s dress code, which she says unfairly targets female students.

Cleveland began her crusade against the dress code when members of her high school’s field hockey team were told by officials that they violated rules by wearing athletic shorts, which are part of their uniform, to school for Spirit Day, WTVR reported.

“The fact that our school would have uniforms for a school sport that were then not acceptable for the dress code during the school day, that’s ridiculous,” Cleveland said.

“Absolutely the young ladies are being targeted … I’ve seen boys in athletic shorts and girls aren’t allowed to wear them,” she added.

In an interview with WWBT, Cleveland noted that male and female students are held to different disciplinary standards.

"I've seen boys get away with pretty much anything, except wearing hats,” she said. "Girls would be picked out with the smallest infractions or even nonexistent infractions, basically.”

“If you're going to have a dress code with rules for both genders, enforce it among both genders,” she added.

Cleveland said she doesn’t have a problem with the dress code itself, but with the gender bias it presents.

"I think we need one to maintain professionalism, but the fact that the dress code is targeting young women and then shaming young women is completely unacceptable.”

Cleveland sent a letter explaining her concerns to administrators during the week of Sept. 14, but she has yet to hear back.

A Chesterfield Schools spokesperson told WWBT, “The dress expectations, while at school during the instructional day, outlined by James River HS, have not changed and all clothing, including uniforms, must meet those expectations.”

Sources: WWBT, WTVR / Photo credit: Screenshot via WTVR