Hopefully, someday, ultra-strict school dress codes will become a thing of the past in Texas. I'm not saying everyone should be going to school in a swimsuit, but targeting girls for wearing clothing that shows off her shoulders, or a little bit of skin above her knees seems pretty damn ridiculous in 2022.

Our priorities are completely out of whack.

I remember being excited in the 3rd grade to wear a fun outfit on "Literary Day" at school. Everyone would stand up and tell the class about the book they loved and dress as their favorite character. I chose to be a black cat from a book I'd read by Robin Jarvis that my mother purchased for me at a bookstore while we were in Europe. I thought it was the coolest book ever and I could not wait to show it off to my friends.

I headed to school in black leggings, and a black long-sleeved leotard, paired with some cat ears and a long tail safety pinned to my backside. My mom painted my face to look like a cat. She even let me wear some fake stick-on acrylic nails.

I walked in the front door, grinning ear to ear. I was so stoked about school that day. I'd been looking forward to wearing my costume all week long. I looked up at one of the teachers who stood greeting students at the door and gave her a huge smile. She immediately grabbed me by the arm and took me to the office. She told me that I wasn't allowed to wear my costume to school because it was "too revealing". I didn't even know what that meant. I was only 9 years old.

I suddenly felt ashamed and embarrassed of my body, something I'd never experienced before. They called my mother, and she turned around and came back to pick me up. I cried in the car the entire way home, and then changed into regular clothes and went back to school. I spent the day feeling like I'd done something terrible, while I watched everyone else enjoy wearing their costume to school. When it came time to talk about my book in front of the class, I excused myself to the office because I just couldn't stop the tears from flowing.

After this incident, I was always hyper-aware of my clothes at school. The way a girl was dressed seemed to be the main focus of teachers and staff. It never really made sense to me, and honestly, it still doesn't. I didn't understand why girls were supposed to cover every inch of themselves to keep boys from looking at them.

Why were boys not taught how to behave? Why were we the ones that were wrong or bad for wanting to wear shorts on 100-degree days? Why wasn't I allowed to wear my cat costume and tell everyone about my new favorite book? I read it cover to cover and I wanted so badly to share the story with all of my friends and impress my teacher.

Flash forward about 25 years, and girls are still targeted and shamed for their clothing at school. A friend of mine shared a screenshot of a text message she received from Levelland Middle School, reminding parents that girls need to wear leggings underneath their jeans if they have holes in them.

Yeah, that's what we want to do. Wear leggings under our clothes in the Texas heat. Thigh skin will surely cause a riot and distract from a learning environment. Get real.

Why don't we focus more on education and less on appearances and stop shaming children into thinking there is something dirty about having a pair of pants with a couple of holes in them? It's ridiculous.

Extreme modesty has nothing to do with math and science, and a spaghetti-strap shirt shouldn't be the reason your daughter is sent home from school today. I hope the next time it happens to your child, you take up for them, and you question the rules and who is really at fault.

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