Biglerville High School in Pennsylvania issued a “sexist letter” to students before senior awards night that has prompted a massive amount of backlash. The letter informs students that appropriate dress is mandatory for the pre-graduation event but does so with wording that many have found both demeaning and offensive. Additionally, a graduation dress code “gender stereotyping” warning letter has been issued by the ACLU, sparking a separate and equally heated debate regarding proper attire for school functions.
The Biglerville High School is located just north of Gettysburg. The sexist letter went viral after senior Brianna Burtop posted an image of the memo on Facebook. The Pennsylvania high school letter told female students to keep “the girls” — a euphemism for breasts — both covered and supported.
The Biglerville High School sexist letter also boasted some very specific language about the wearing of tight-fitting clothes.
“Please remember as you select an outfit for the awards assembly that we don’t want to be looking at sausage rolls. As you get dressed, remember that you can’t put 10 pounds of mud in a five-pound sack.”
The Biglerville High School sexist letter advised graduating male students to wear nice clothes and to avoid low-hanging pants. The Pennsylvania high school has a student population of about 500 students.
“You’re supposed to feel safe and comfortable here. For a letter like that to come from the administration is really appalling,” Brianna Burtop said.
One Pennsylvania senior wrote, “Keeping it classy Biglerville High School. I didn’t know it was okay to insult your female students. Weight shouldn’t be used for comedic relief.”
A statement about the Biglerville High School senior awards ceremony letter was issued by the district on earlier this week.
“While we regret that the document contained some unfortunate word choices, we do respect all students and hope this does not detract from the dignity of the graduation ceremony and the accomplishments of our graduating class.”
The Pennsylvania high school sexist letter is not the only graduation notice that has sparked controversy in the United States. The Utah ACLU issued a warning letter of its own pertaining to dress code standards at high schools in the state.
The Utah branch of the American Civil Liberties Union issued a letter to all schools in the state informing them that a school district in the south-central region of the state has a graduation dress code that is “unconstitutional and must be changed.” The Cassia County School District graduation letter told all the graduating senior girls to wear either white or pastel dresses under their gowns — the graduation gowns are white, as is typical, are made of thin material. Graduating senior boys were instructed to wear slacks and a tie.
ACLU Legal Director Richard Eppink stated that when schools “make a distinction” based on gender when crafting dress code policies, they are “enforcing gender-stereotyping.”
What do you think about the Biglerville High School sexist letter and the Utah ACLU gender stereotyping graduation dress code warning letter?
[Image via Shutterstock.com]