Regarding Dress Code for Los Alamos High School

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Brandi Engeman

Aug 14, 2023, 6:11:46 PM8/14/23
to Ryan Finn, Jennifer Guy,,
Good Afternoon,

I want to address, and ask that you immediately remedy and clarify, an issue in the school dress code policy which currently continues to unfairly target young women and those who dress in female identifying clothing.

While the policy does a good job allowing students and parents to have autonomy in deciding how their students dress, the lines about "underwear as outerwear" and "spandex shorts" are too subjective and allow for too much room for adults to decide what those articles entail. While boxers are addressed, the dress code is cleary meant, to those of us with concerns, to get young women and those with  female body types to "cover up" and teachers our students that there is something inherenetly wrong or distracting with their bodies,  and is only reinforcing negative stereotypes around gender and sexual abuse/harrassment and assault.

First off, the phrase "underwear as outerwear" allows for a teacher, administrator, or other adult to decide that tank tops with thin straps, or shirts that they deem to be "revealing" or "underwear" as outside the dress code. This is just flat wrong. My own student has said that spaghetti strap tank tops are being targeted speciically because "bra straps can be seen by boys and that's a distraction" and that some clothing has been identified as "not appropriate for a professional setting". My student is not paid to attend school, it is not a college, it is not their job. They are there to learn and be educated, not to have their body identified as a distraction. If someone is distracted by my teenager's body, that is THEIR problem and not my child's.

Second, "spandex shorts". I want to give the board and staff the benefit of the doubt that this means "booty" style shorts. However, it is not being addressed that way and some students have been singled out for form fitting shorts. If you have a teenager who is tall, thin, and has thinner legs, you will know that spandex shorts are the most comfortable they can possibly find in stores right now when baggy legged pants and shorts are in style. There is no need to call out a fabric type as inappropritae when you have, in other sentences, addressed the need to cover breasts, genitals and buttocks. Simpley remove the fabric identifier from this line.

I would point out that most children's clothing is made with spandex. At which point, in the eyes and minds of the adults in charge, does spandex become inappropriate for school? Sixth grade? Middle school? Why? Why are adults trageting a fabric as form fitting other than to sexualize a student's body in a way that is highly inappropriate?

I would ask that you revisit the policy immediately and know that myself, and others, will refuse to have our children targeted or punished for wearing the most comfortable clothing that suits their needs, meets their aesthetic choices, and avoids parts of the dress code that are quite reasonable. 

If my student is pulled from a class or has an adult point out that their clothing violates a dress code (unless it is gang wear, or bears images that go against the drug/alcohol standards or does not cover their breasts, genitals, or buttocks) I will assume that the adults at the High School are more concerned with my child's body parts than their education. Please do not send this message to me and others who have chosen to support our children in their own developing style and clothing choices.

I have enclosed some images in this document of clothing available in my child's size range. These are meant to be examples to show that the terminology around the clothing is just too subjective and should be removed in favor of the language that address the concerns that should arise from a dress code that allows for freedom of expression.

Examples of "spandex shorts", please note that by using "spandex" you're identifying a wide variety of clothign instead of just saying what you mean: no volleyball uniform shorts during the school day (although, I fail to see why, if they're allowed to play in front of huge audiences in said shorts)

Thank you for your prompt attention to rectify this matter,
Brandi Engeman
White Rock

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