The principal met with the student council and held assemblies with the students Monday to address what happened during the dance. Students were also asked to give their input on the dress code and filled out a questionnaire. The student council will look those over and then meet with the administration to clarify the dress code.
“I feel bad because we have a lot of good kids at the school,” he said. “We just need to better clarify things.”
The school's website now shows a clarified version of the student dress code. Dresses now have to reach or go below the knees, and not just near or just above the knee.
Two researchers who have studied body image and objectification of women say the incident at Stansbury High School is a teaching moment for parents and girls.
Lexie and Lindsay Kite have spent the past decade studying the issue and will end the school year with a doctorate thesis on the subject. They launched Beauty Redefined, a nonprofit group that helps change the way people see beauty.
The school is within its right to have a dress code, they said, but the enforcement of the code was skewed.
“We had people maybe enforce their own ideas about what’s appropriate and that didn’t really fall in line with what many of the girls and their parents thought about what was appropriate,” Lindsay Kite said. “When you enforce these kinds of arbitrary standards that aren’t necessarily enforced in other aspects of the school’s events or other life experience, that teaches them that they are bodies, that they are to be looked at, and that those bodies are shameful.”
"When they were at the door and turned away, it breaks my heart a little,” Lexie Kite said. “It teaches girls that that extra inch here or there, if that's showing, then suddenly they are harmful to people and we have to be ashamed of our bodies because of it."
Both say girls need to be taught that they are more than just bodies and they can be empowered to do great things.
“We know that when girls respect their bodies they actually make better decisions for them, in terms of nutrition, physical fitness and also in terms of the way they dress,” Lexie Kite said.
Contributing: Shara Park, Peter Samore
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