School uniforms with dresses

Erika Booth Takes Legal Action Against School Over Sexist Dress Code

Trisha Faulkner - Author

Nov. 11 2018, Updated 7:23 p.m. ET

Erika Booth, a mom from North Carolina, has declared war against her 12-year-old daughter’s charter school over the dress code. Erika recently joined a pre-existing lawsuit filed by Bonnie Peltier, another mother with a child at the school, for the same reason.

According to Erika, the legal war started when her 12-year-old (who she preferred not to name) was offered three uniform choices for the school year. She should wear a skirt, a skort, or a jumper. What the 12-year-old was not allowed to wear was any form of pants or shorts.

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According to Pop Sugar, Charter Day School, located in Leland, NC, forbids all female students from wearing pants or shorts. The dress code left a bad taste in Erika’s mouth, so she was thrilled when she learned a previous lawsuit about the same issue had already been filed.

“Once I found out there was a lawsuit, I was delighted. I felt like the rule was unfair to girls all along. When my daughter… found out she had to wear skirts the first day of kindergarten, she cried,” the mom explained to Today.

Erika – and the mom who originally filed the lawsuit – take issue with the strict dress code for several reasons. For starters, they feel it is the year 2018 and their daughters should be able to wear pants if they want to. Moreover, they both feel dresses and skirts are restrictive and inconvenient for a growing girl.

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“It’s impractical to wear a skirt. They can’t run, they can’t play, they can’t flip upside down. The clothing is simply not as durable. They’re told that they can wear leggings, and any woman who has ever worn leggings can tell you leggings are not pants. When it’s 14 degrees in the morning in January…they’re not pants. They’re not.”

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Erika also takes issue with the dress code as it allows male and female students to be treated differently in the classroom as they require the female students to “sit like princesses.”

Female students are only permitted to wear shorts on the day they have gym class. They can also wear shorts on field trips and spirit days. Erika points out the fact that the school makes these exceptions just means the school agrees skirts are inconvenient and do not allow the female students to be athletic or have fun as a result.

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Galen Sherwin, the attorney working on the case, admits gender-specific dress codes are extremely common, but this is a bit of an extreme case.

“Certainly none of the schools in the local area have a similar requirement, including the Catholic schools,” the attorney explained.

Baker Mitchell, the founder in charge of running the Charter Day School, stands behind the dress code saying that it promotes “traditional values.”


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