Is a school rule requiring girls to wear skirts unconstitutional sex discrimination?

A federal judge in North Carolina thinks so.

U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard ruled last week that a charter school was engaging in unconstitutional sex discrimination by requiring girls to wear skirts.

The parents sued the school claiming that the dress code forces girls to be colder in the winter and “pay constant attention to the positioning of their legs during class, distracting them from learning, and has led them to avoid certain activities altogether, such as climbing or playing sports during recess, all for fear of exposing their undergarments and being reprimanded by teachers or teased by boys,” the judge said in summarizing the parent’s arguments.

I think he’s right.

My girls, like many other girls attending Catholic, private, or charter schools, can’t wear pants (or shorts) to school.

But before I start railing on a school policy, let me start by saying that I love my girls school. No, truly I do. It’s a traditional Catholic school with strong academics, dedicated teachers, and parents who treat each other like family. My daughters’ inability to wear pants to school is not going to cause me to withdraw them from school or even refrain from strongly recommending the school to other parents.

With that said, it can really suck to wear a skirt all day, every day.

Bare legs are uncomfortable if not dangerous in cold weather. In Dallas we get plenty of winter days with temperatures in the 30(s) and windchills in the 20(s). And off to school my girls go with the wind chafing their bare legs. Yes, my girls could wear tights. But any woman will tell you that tights don’t really keep your legs warm, not to mention the constant tug-of-war required to keep them up all day.

My second grader who is a literal monkey on the monkey bars? She keeps her mad skills in check at school for fear of her jumper flipping up. My basketball obsessed eighth grader? She’s not going to hustle in gym class wearing a skirt the same way she does when she’s wearing shorts.

How hard would you work out if you had to wear a skirt?

Okay what say you readers? Are we holding our girls back by making them wear skirts? Leave a comment or send an e-mail.

Copyright © 2019 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.

 

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