The principal of a low-income elementary school made students pay $2 for a pajama party in celebration of Valentine's Day, then reportedly denied entry to some of the students because of their attire.
The party occurred at East New York school PS 202 on Feb. 12. The “Valentine’s Pajama Jam” included a DJ, dancing and cupcakes, the New York Post reports. A flyer sent home before the dance asked students to bring a $2 donation and their favorite pajamas. However, the flyer didn’t say that pajamas were mandatory.
Principal Machael Spencer Edwards, however, reportedly checked every student’s attire before allowing them into the dance.
“No pajamas, no party,” school employees quoted Edwards as insisting, according to the Post.
Edwards was strict about the dress code and reportedly even denied entrance to a boy wearing basketball shorts, which his parents explained he often wore to bed.
“I changed in the bathroom, and I got in line,” the 10-year-old boy who wore basketball shorts told the Post. “But the principal told me I can’t come. He said, ‘That’s not pajamas, go back to the lunch room.’”
The boy’s mother noted that she was confused, since her son hadn’t done anything wrong. Another mom said some kids might not feel comfortable wearing pajamas to school, and some kids might simply sleep in their underwear.
In June 2015, a similar incident occurred when one principal refused to let kids into a school carnival if they didn’t pay a $10 entry fee. The Department of Education later concluded that principals can’t exclude kids from fundraising events during school hours.