It seems that despite constant push back from teenagers across the country, discriminatory school dress code violations are still sparking up controversy. Arkansas teen Laura Orsi is the latest teen to start a movement against her school’s dress code.
Orsi is a student at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet School in Little Rock. One day, she received a text from friend Clara Mitchell saying that she had been dress coded for a third time in two school years for wearing a skirt she had previously worn to school before with no problem. According to Orsi’s website, the violation sent Mitchell into a panic attack because a third violation meant a potential suspension, despite it not being an official school policy.
Mitchell’s parents were at work half an hour away from school, so being a good friend, Orsi texted her dad to bring her some clothes that Mitchell could wear the rest of the day so she wouldn’t get into further trouble. Orsi told Yahoo Lifestyle, “It didn’t seem right, though, since she had a trench coat she could have put on and buttoned up to cover her legs, but they wouldn’t let her for some reason that they neglected to explain.” Orsi speculated that Mitchell was specifically targeted because she is an Asian student, despite the fact that she’s ranked third in her class and is posed to be salutatorian.
To test her theory that Mitchell’s violation was racially motivated, Orsi wore the exact same skirt to school the next day to see if she would get dress coded. And guess what? Not a single violation.
“I made it through the whole day, made FIVE unnecessary trips by the front office in order to be seen by all administration, and no one ever said anything,” Orsi wrote on her website. “I was even alone in the hall with one of the people who gave Clara the violation, purposefully drew attention to myself, and still didn’t get coded.”
Naturally, Orsi and Mitchell were outraged and they started a protest at their school called “Pass The Skirt.” The movement encourages students to conduct experiments similar to Orsi’s to prove that girls are treated unequally at their school. The rules, according to Orsi, are simple: “Boys and girls, wear skirts/shorts/dresses that are more than 4” above the knee. Post it with the hashtag #PassTheSkirt. After you wear it, pass it to a friend of an opposing race or gender to see if they get coded for the same thing.”
Based on an online survey, distributed by Orsi and the Pass The Skirt movement, a majority of students that the school’s dress code was either “unfair, exclusive, or discriminatory.” Additionally, a majority of non-white students who took the survey felt that they were “racially discriminated against at school based on how the dress code is enforced” and that their “body type has been discriminated against based on how dress codes are enforced.”
Despite the thoroughness of their research, the movement has been met with some controversy. Some spectators have criticized the movement as students who just “wanted some attention” and that school “should change to uniforms so no one complains.”
Do you think this school dress code is discriminatory? Or are these students making a big deal out of nothing? Sound off in the comments!