A student petition that criticizes a Texas high school’s dress code as “outdated” and “gender biased” wants administrators to change the rules and allow boys to wear makeup on campus so they may express themselves in “what is supposed to be a safe environment.”
This petition came after a Shadow Creek High School male student was disciplined for wearing makeup to class last week. However, the Alvin Independent School District dress code clearly states, “Boys may not wear makeup.”
According to the code, boys also cannot wear their hair shoulder length, or sport mustaches, beards and goatees. Sideburns may not extend past the bottom of the earlobe. Boys cannot wear earrings, either.
The unidentified male student was given the opportunity to wash off the makeup but he declined, according to KHOU. Subsequently, he received in-school suspension, a first-time consequence listed in the student handbook for violating the dress code. It also said that repeat violations “may result in more serious disciplinary action.”
The teenager’s good friend and schoolmate, Jasmine Richards, has ardently advocated on his behalf. She started the online petition to sway school district officials into considering a more androgynous approach. She told KHOU that the boy, who is enrolled in cosmetology classes at the high school, routinely wears makeup to class and should be allowed to continue.
The petition asked Alvin ISD to modify its dress code, accusing the school district of “several gender biased policies” like prohibiting boys from wearing makeup and earrings, which they only permit girls to do.
These polices are entirely outdated and sexist gender standards. Prohibiting boys from wearing makeup because makeup is “only for girls” also prohibits them from expressing themselves in what is supposed to be a safe environment.
The petition called such rules “harmful” and discriminatory to boys.
A boy wearing makeup should not be considered any more distracting than a girl wearing makeup. These policies harm young boys by telling them that they are not allowed to participate in the same forms of self expression that girls are, simply because they are boys. This has to change. We are asking for Alvin ISD to review and modify their dress code so that it is free of gender discrimination.
A quote attributed to Michelle Bachelet, former Chilean President now U.N. Human Rights chief, also graced the petition. It read: “Gender equality must become a lived reality.”
Alvin ISD Assistant Superintendent Daniel Combs told KHOU the dress code is “not set in stone” and is reviewed every couple of years. He said he met with Richards and the male student about boys wearing makeup. Combs told them the school district plans to get input from parents, students, and others before recommending any potential overhaul to the dress code.
“You know, some of these elements have been in our dress code for many, many years,” said Combs. “And as we go through that review, we certainly want to address concerns that come forward.”
Reportedly, the male student said he will not to wear makeup to school until the matter is resolved.
Richards said she was very glad the school district was willing to consider a policy change. She then noted: “People were shocked it was in the dress code in the first place.”
The petition reached 2,047 of the 2,500 signatures it sought as of press time.
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