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Texas school's dress code for parents bans 'sagging pants,' pajamas, hair rollers and more

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 4/24/2019 Joel Shannon

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A Houston high school announced earlier this month that parents would need to conform to a dress code to be permitted to enter the school, a policy that has drawn media attention and scrutiny.

The April 9 letter announcing the policy is linked on James Madison High School's homepage. It lists an array of clothing that parents are not permitted to wear inside the school or at school events, including:

  • "A satin cap or bonnet on their head"
  • Hair rollers
  • "Pajamas of any kind"
  • "Leggings that are showing your bottom and where your body is not covered from the front or the back"
  • "Sagging pants"
  • "Men wearing undershirts"
  • Daisy Dukes

The school – which has a dress code for its students as well, according to Houston Independent School District – enacted the parental dress code to help create a "professional educational environment," Carlotta Outley Brown, the school's principal, wrote in the letter.

"We have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards. We are preparing your child for a prosperous future," the letter says.

One day before the letter was dated, local TV station KPRC reported that Madison High School turned away a mother who said she wore a head scarf and a T-shirt dress featuring Marilyn Monroe. Joselyn Lewis told the station that officials said she was in violation of the school's dress code. Lewis was at the school to register her daughter, the station says.

August 2018: California school's no-shame dress code empowers students to wear what they want

a close up of text on a white background © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Critics of the policy have called it discriminatory, the Houston Chronicle reports. Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, specifically criticized the policy on women's hair, calling it “classist,” “belittling” and “dismissive,” the newspaper says.

“I’m sorry – this principal may have plenty of money and time to go to the hairdresser weekly and have her stuff done,” Capo told the newspaper. “Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial.”

Ashton P. Woods – who is a candidate for Houston City Council and the founder of Black Lives Matter Houston, according to his Twitter bio – sharply criticized the policy in a tweet, calling it "elitism."

"Most of the parents likely cannot afford to comply with this dress code," Woods' tweet reads.

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The policy has found supporters on social media, with some users citing the student dress code as a reason there should be a policy for parents as well

USA TODAY's attempts to contact Brown on Tuesday evening were not immediately returned.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas school's dress code for parents bans 'sagging pants,' pajamas, hair rollers and more

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