High School Principal Faces Backlash For Enforcing Dress Code For Parents

Publish date:

Carlotta Outley Brown, principal of James Madison High School in Houston, Texas, created a new dress code for the parents at the school. According to the dress code, parents who show up in attire that is "totally unacceptable for the school setting" will get kicked off campus.

The rules were established after one mother came to the school dressed in a head wrap and T-shirt dress. However, the dress code only applies to the high school.

The parental dress code has elicited both support and criticism from members of the public.

One parent, Tomiko Miller, told CBS News' Omar Villafranca: "This is a failing school. You have other things to worry about than my attire."


The school has a dress code for its 1,600 students, as well as their teachers. No hoodies, flip-flops, or low-hanging pants are allowed, and staff members are required to look clean, neat, and dress appropriately.

In a letter sent to parents by the principal, wearing the following would have them barred from entering the campus: satin caps or bonnets, shower caps, hair rollers, pajamas, torn jeans showing lots of skin, uncovered leggings, low-cut tops, sagging pants, undershirts, short shorts and dresses that reveal the derrière.

"You are your child's first teacher," she wrote. "We must have high standards."

The letter was sent after one parent, Joselyn Lewis, told a local TV station that she was barred from entering the high school because her headscarf violated the dress code.

Tomiko Miller said, "I did feel a little almost insulted. But if you're just coming to that school or you get a call and you're working out and you run up to the school, I really don't feel like we should punish parents for trying to be involved and doing the right thing. At least that parent is at the school."


Principal Outley Brown has on numerous occasions been honored for her work as an educator. In 2015, she received a $100,000 check from Ellen DeGeneres for a homeless outreach program she had established at her previous school, where she also created a parental dress code. In 2008, the school won a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Education Department.

"I believe that she cares or she wouldn't be at that school. Then let's hear the plan for taking care of the academic standards. Then perhaps, let's say, you know what, moms and dads, can we maybe up the ante a little bit? I really don't know a parent who would have a problem with that, if it's going to help," Tomiko Miller said.

Brown and the school district declined to speak to CBS News on camera.

Sources: America Now / Photo Credit: CBS This Morning

Popular Video