A shift in school dress code has sparked a heated discussion about race, class and cultural norms. This dress code policy change is aimed at parents as well as students.

James Madison High School is a public high school in Houston that services about 1,600 students. Families were notified this month of a sweeping policy that banned revealing and sagging clothing for all people visiting the school, as well as pajamas, hair rollers, and satin caps and bonnets. These are stereotypical things that people of color wear and or use which is the basis of the uproar.

The principal of the school, Carlotta Outley Brown exclaims, “You are your child’s first teacher,”, wrote in a letter dated April 9 that asked adults to set an example by wearing appropriate attire on campus and helping support the school’s high standards.

“We are preparing your child for a prosperous future,” she added. “We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for any setting they may be in.”

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