A battle over a dress code has reached Ceres High School in Ceres, California, where senior Nada Abdo is pushing back against a contract that students must sign in order to purchase prom tickets. The contract states that students agree to leave prom if their outfits are deemed inappropriate.
“We’ve been looking online, but a lot of the dresses conflict with the code. I don’t know what to do, especially since I’m plus-sized,” she said. “I have an even more narrow set of dresses that I can choose from.”
Abdo was nearly kicked out of last year’s prom for her black-and-white dress, which featured mesh-like fabric that nearly comes up to her collarbones, said CBS Sacremento. “You can barely see through the black, but I was still told to cover up,” she said.(Screenshot via CBS Sacramento)
Abdo bought a new dress for this year’s prom, but she says she was told she isn’t allowed to wear it. “There’s an opening in the back. I couldn’t wear it, because she said the opening was too big,” she said.
“My parents are Arab-American, so my parents are already very strict,” she added. “So I feel if my parents will let me wear a dress, they shouldn’t have any problem with it.”
Abdo believes the dress code unfairly targets women. In recent years, an increasing number of girls have pushed back against the dress code set forth by their schools, decrying them as sexist because they require women to conform to a sometimes seemingly arbitrary code that covers their bodies as opposed to putting the responsibility on male students to focus on their studies and behave responsibly.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than half of public schools have a dress code, which frequently contain gender-specific clauses.
The school district says they haven’t received any complaints and that individual schools dictate the dress code.