New Jersey Middle School Cancels Event Over Strapless Dress Ban

Readington Township, NJ – A strapless dress ban, instituted by Readington Middle School principal Sharon Moffat, and backed by school superintendent Barbara Sargent, has escalated to a cancellation of an end-of-year eighth-grade dinner dance due to threats made against school officials.

Originally the school outlawed strapless dresses from the upcoming June 14 event, citing the style of gown as distracting to the male classmates. Parents and students objected to Moffat’s dress code ruling at a school board meeting held on April 23. The decision infuriated parents and students alike, many protesting the ban as both absurd and a violation of their 14th Amendment rights.

MyCentralJersey reports the parent-funded dance would have been held at a private venue, Razberry’s in Frenchtown, and many of the attendees had purchased dresses prior to the introduced dress code, further stirring the conflict.

Earlier in the month Moffat sent parents a letter, addressing appropriate attire for the event, stating, “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.”

Arguably, (most) strapless dresses, which had been permitted in previous years, are not nearly as provocatively revealing as back-exposing halter dresses or those with plunging necklines.

After listening to several complaints, the school board decided to seek advice from its policy committee and pledged to readdress the issue at its May 14 meeting.

Friday morning, Moffat received a threatening e-mail regarding the dress code policy and authorities were contacted. Readington Police did not consider the threat as credible but offered to have an officer present at the dance. Instead, Moffat and Sargent elected to cancel the dance entirely. The content of the e-mail threat was not publicly disclosed.

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