No students safe from irrational school dress codes. Not even 4-year-olds.

It’s early in the school year but there are already reports of over zealous enforcement of dress code policies.

School dress codes are arbitrary, and enforcement is spotty. What a 60-year-old male principal finds risqué may seem Sunday church wear to a 30-year-old assistant principal.

This dress got a local teen sent to the office.

I still don’t understand why schools pursue dress code violations to the point of yanking girls from class for displaying too much shoulder. Leave wardrobe decisions to parents.

In one local high school last year, a male administrator came to classes and asked girls to turn around so he could inspect them from behind. He flagged dresses as modest as this loose-fitting tunic in the photo.

Dress codes foster the dangerous notion that girls are responsible for what boys think and do. Almost all dress codes target girls, even outlawing their collar bones, as a Kentucky high school did.

This Kentucky student was sent home because this outfit exposed collarbone.

Dress codes also censor hair styles for reasons that defy reason. Why, for example, is long hair a distraction or danger on a boy and not a girl?

In Texas, a school barred a 4-year-old from kindergarten this week due to the length of his hair. The Barbers Hill Independent School District requires boys’ hair be above the eyes and ears and neck. Parent Jessica Oates is challenging the ruling, using the rationale her little boy’s long hair reflects the family’s Cocopah Indian heritage. (This is one of the first stories I have read in which a dress code sent a boy home.)

Oates shouldn’t have to cite any reason. If her son’s hair is not impeding other students’ ability to learn or endangering them, why should it matter? There has been a rash of dress code citations against black girls for wearing dreads, head wraps or having natural hair. (Here is a good NPR story on one such case.) The reasoning in those cases is also incomprehensible.

In South Carolina, a principal of a high school set off a furor this week with a comment to female students about leggings: “I’m going to tell you now, unless you are a size zero or two and you wear something like that, you look fat.”

Stratford High School parents took to Facebook to criticize the comment. One mom recalled getting the same admonishment as a teen: “A long time ago, when I was in high school, we wanted to wear blue jeans to school and we were told that not everybody looked good in them, that they made us (girls) look fat.”

Closer to home, North Atlanta High School students are opposing their school’s dress code in a Change.org petition, also citing a war there on leggings.

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