Houston High School Principal Imposes New Dress Code On Parents; Bans Saggy Pants, Satin Caps And More

Bonnets, saggy pants, satin caps and more are just some things a Texas principal has banned parents from wearing when dropping off their kids at school. 

Principal Carlotta Outley Brown is the principal at James Madison High School in Houston, Texas where students’ parent are upset after Outley Brown wrote a letter earlier this month stating that they cannot enter school grounds while wearing pajamas or revealing clothing. Other clothing restrictions include wearing leggings, sagging pants, low-rider shorts, short dresses, and low-cut tops. Women can’t wear a satin cap, hair curlers, shower cap or bonnet on their heads.

“No one can enter the building or be on the school premises wearing a satin cap or bonnet on their head for any reason,” Brown said in a letter to parents dated April 9. “You also cannot wear a shower cap of any kind in the building.” KPRC-TV in Houston spoke to a parent who said she was “almost insulted” by the new dress code after she was turned away when trying to enroll her child.

“I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used,” said Tomiko Miller who was wearing a headscarf and a T-shirt dress. “It was demeaning. And I’m African American — and if it’s misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business.” 

Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, called codes relating to women’s hair “classist” and “belittling.” “I’m sorry, this Principal may have plenty of money and time to go to the hairdresser weekly and have her stuff done,” he told the newspaper. “Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do? Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial.”

Nevertheless, Outley Brown, who is a Black woman herself says it’s time parents take their image more seriously as it reflects their child. In addition, Outley Brown wants parents to set an example for students on how to present themselves. “Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education. You are your child’s first teacher,” Outley Brown said in her letter. “However, please know we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards.”

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