Most parents tend to get upset when a school changes its policy, and their children have to conform to new rules. A father in Arizona was furious when he learned that the school was altering its dress code.
He decided to do something dramatic to make his point. Keep reading to learn more…
In the city of Gilbert, Arizona, a school board meeting took an entirely unexpected turn when a father, Ira Latham, undressed to reveal a particular outfit. Under his professional attire, he wore a tank top and short shorts to emphasize a point that was close to his heart.
«According to the proposed policy, this would be appropriate in a classroom,» Ira Latham said during the meeting. He took off his shirt and pants at the podium to make his point clear.
The meeting aimed to discuss the implementation of a more lenient dress code that the Higley Unified School District had begun to enforce. Discussions had been ongoing since May, and most people in the school district were aware of what it would entail.
According to the new policy, «Clothing must cover all intimate body parts and/or undergarments and must not be see-through. Belts and/or undergarment straps that are incidentally visible under clothing are allowed; however, undergarments may not be worn as outerwear.»
To drive his point home, the father wore a tank top and short shorts to show what would now be allowed at school. He stated, «Under the proposed policy, this outfit would be appropriate in a classroom.»
Unlike the previous rule established in 2001, the new dress code allows students to expose their chest, abdomen, and midriff.
Latham has four children in the school district and believes that this dress code would hinder his children’s education in a classroom. He said, «As a parent, I expect the district to be able to implement policies that help my children go to class and learn how they can contribute to a safe classroom environment while limiting unnecessary distractions in the classroom.»
«This policy doesn’t go in that direction. I also believe it puts unnecessary pressure on teachers who have to deal with the vagueness of this policy,» he continued.
He explained that he wanted to make a statement about how this policy would play out in reality by wearing an outfit that would be acceptable under the new rules.
«Because I have no other way to express my concerns about this policy, I’m going to give an object lesson,» he said before undressing.
«If you want my opinion, it’s not appropriate for a school board meeting. If you have a dress code that allows this in a classroom, it does not promote a safe classroom environment,» added the frustrated father.
However, the school board president, Tiffany Schulz, did not appreciate the father’s criticism. She pointed out that the current rules unfairly targeted female students.
Another board member, Anna Van Hoek, seemed to share Mr. Latham’s viewpoint, stating that a modest dress code prepares students for the real world, as they need to dress in a manner that will be expected of them in the workforce. She added that modest dress was synonymous with «self-respect.»
«If we’re preparing our kids to be ready for college and career, they need to learn to respect themselves, and that doesn’t involve showing their body parts,» she said.
Later, Latham expressed his frustration to the media, saying, «The dress code they were trying to get is essentially a public pool dress code. It’s about making sure kids cover their undergarments, and that’s about it.»
However, the school board president, Mr. Schulz, was unimpressed with these arguments, noting that it was more about female students as they were the ones typically wearing tank tops and tank-style dresses.
«We’re saying they need to cover up because they might hurt someone else, and that’s a mistake,» Mr. Schulz stated.
She added that teachers should be more concerned with teaching than measuring their students’ shirts and making female students uncomfortable. Another board member, Amanda Wade, agrees with Ms. Schulz.
She said, «These are kids. They don’t have jobs, and I recognize that in the end, it’s the job they have the most, but we need to give them some freedom.»
Despite Latham’s dramatic opposition to the new dress code, the school board voted in favor of updating the dress code policy by a 3 to 2 vote.
While the Higley Unified School District has opted for a more modern and updated dress code, other school districts are going in the opposite direction. School districts in Madison, Rankin, and Hinds counties in Mississippi have all banned tank tops and established that short and long-sleeved shirts must cover a female student’s midriff. The new policy also states that pants must not be ripped, and certain skirt lengths are prohibited.
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