Just when you thought you had seen it all in the public schools, the principal at James Madison High School in Houston has created a dress code for parents! Carlotta Outley Brown warned parents earlier this month that they will be turned away if they show up at their child’s school wearing any number of items on her list of banned clothing. As you can imagine, parents are furious!
“I’m almost insulted,” said Tomiko Miller, the mom of a current student, told the Houston Chronicle.
“I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used. It was demeaning. And I’m African American – and if it’s misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business.”
Zeph Capo, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, described the rules as “classist.”
“I’m sorry – this principal may have plenty of money and time to go to the hairdresser weekly and have her stuff done,” he also told the Houston Chronicle. “Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do? Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial.”
“We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate”
“We are preparing your child for a prosperous future,” Carlotta Outley Brown, the principal of James Madison High School in Houston, wrote in a letter to parents on April 9. “We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for any setting they might be in.”
The SFGate reports:
In her letter to parents, Brown wrote that sagging pants or shorts were off limits, and men couldn’t arrive in undershirts. Low-cut tops were banned, as were “leggings that are showing your bottom” and “shorts that are up to your behind.” Same with pajamas “or any other attire that could possibly be pajamas.”
So were the head coverings that many black women wear to protect their hair. “No one can enter the building or be on the school premises wearing a satin cap or bonnet on their head for any reason,” Brown wrote, adding that shower caps were also prohibited. The rules, she said, would apply to off-campus events as well.
“We value you but we must ask you to value and follow the rules of the school environment,” she wrote.
Brown is African American and a graduate of Madison High School. She told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the dress code had been necessary because “parents were coming in risque clothes.” In her memo to parents, she explained that she felt it was important to have “high standards” and to demonstrate to children how they should dress in an educational setting.
Others saw the policy differently. “This is ELITISM and RESPECTABILITY POLITICS.” Ashton P. Woods, a candidate for Houston City Council and a founder of Black Lives Matter Houston, wrote on Twitter. “She should be fired. Most of the parents likely cannot afford to comply with this dress code. This is not 1984.”
You know, if you read my work, what is coming next!
Carlotta Outley Brown, have you lost your mind!!!
It is not your job to teach the STUDENTS what is appropriate! That is the parent’s job!
Now I was a teacher. I am for a dress code, actually a pretty strict one. Not for the purpose of teaching appropriateness, but because it directly affects discipline in the classroom. It really solves a lot of problems. It is a psychological thing.
But lady, you have no business telling your parents what they can wear, I do not care what your reasoning is, even inside the school that you are in charge of!
I hate it when people run around in sweat pants in public. I hate it when women use a long t-short as a dress. I get it.
READ ALSO: Remember When Principal Holly Ray Said PARENTS WILL BE ARRESTED for Walking Kids TO OR FROM SCHOOL: [UPDATE]
But I am going to explain. You Carlotta Outley Brown, are what we call a PUBLIC SERVANT. You are NOT a master. You work for the parents, and the taxpayers. You do not tell the parents and taxpayers what to do, they tell you! You obviously have forgotten this basic principle.
This is going to get you in trouble, I guarantee it. What always bothers me in school situations like this is that there always seems to be that piece in the brain that is missing that generally would tell you: “This is not a good idea!”
You seem to be an accomplished principal, I am saddened that this mars that record. But this is a doozy, and you should have known that.
We always provide contact information. The only way we stop insanity like this is to make the message known, kindly.
Be respectful, but let Carlotta know that this is unacceptable behavior on the part of a school principal.
MADISON HIGH SCHOOL Phone: 713-433-9801
Carlotta Outley Brown, Principal Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter Facebook (Seems shut down)
HOUSTON ISD Phone: 713-556-6000
Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan Phone: (713) 556-6300
Board of Education Phone: (713) 556-6121
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Author: Terrence Donovan
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