Lifestyle & Belief

Strapless dress ban at middle school has parents up in arms


Singer Rebecca Black wears a strapless dress to the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' "Prom" at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles on April 21, 2011.


Kevin Winter

Parents are protesting an attempt by the principal of Readington Middle School in Readington Township, N.J., to promote modesty at the school’s annual 8th grade dance.

Earlier this month, Principal Sharon Moffat announced that strapless dresses would be banned at the event.

"Young gentlemen are encouraged to wear collared shirts and trousers; many boys wear ties or jackets. Young ladies should wear a skirt, dress with straps, or dressy pants outfit. Jeans or sneakers are not appropriate for this event,” Moffat wrote in a letter to parents, according to the (Bridgewater, N.J.) Courier News.

Parent Charlotte Nijenhuis told Reuters that she called Moffat for an explanation. "She told me, ‘It is because it's distracting to boys and inappropriate',” Nijenhuis said.

Nijenhuis and other parents petitioned the school board today to overturn the rule.

"I'm objecting to the fact that government can come in and change the rules without asking parents. That's an abuse of authority," Nijenhuis told the Courier News. She said the dance dress code was a violation of her daughter's 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

Parent Nancy Garceau told NBC 4 New York that she disagreed with the principal’s contention that the students were not mature enough to deal with strapless dresses. "They can handle it better than they're getting credit for," she said.

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