You’ve heard of a dress code for students. Now parents of James Madison High School are finding out there’s a dress code for them as well.
The school will turn away parents if they show up at the school wearing bonnets, pajamas, hair rollers or leggings, among other clothing items. The notice was issued via memo by the school’s new principal, Carlotta Ottley Brown. The new dress code is posted on the school’s website.
“Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education,” Outley Brown, a graduate of Madison High School in her own right, said in the memo. “However, please know we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards.”
While some parents believed that the guidelines were necessary in order to maintain an atmosphere that is “socially acceptable,” some parents didn’t agree with the memo, citing issues tied to gender, class and race.
“I’m almost insulted,” Tomiko Miller, the mother of a Madison High School 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.”
The dress code went into effect one day after a parent allegedly attempted to enroll her daughter at Madison, only to be turned away because of how she was dressed. The mother, wearing a T-shit dress and headscarf, said the school called police officers to remove her from the property when she asked to see the dress code she had apparently broken.
Outley Brown is Madison’s fourth principal in five years, taking over during the second semester of the 2018-19 school year. Previously she served as principal of Peck Elementary for 14 years.