petition challenges prom dress code
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Back to Article petition challenges prom dress code

"Disappointed students" posted a petition on challenging Ryan's prom dress guidelines.

"Disappointed students" posted a petition on challenging Ryan's prom dress guidelines.

"Disappointed students" posted a petition on challenging Ryan's prom dress guidelines.

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A petition posted on that calls for the abolition of Archbishop Ryan’s prom dress code has gained support from students, alumni, parents, and others.

In the four days since it has been posted by the anonymous group “disappointed students,” about 650 people have signed it. Attached to the petition are comments from scores of people stating their reasons for support and sharing stories of their own difficulties with the prom gown rules.

The petition is broken down into several arguments, among which are: the dress code doesn’t account for all body types and it places financial hardships placed on girls who can’t borrow dresses.

The petition sparked a passion in students who took to Instagram and Twitter to show their support. Some students wore pink accessories to school on Tuesday to show solidarity for the cause.

Not all students shared the same enthusiasm, however. Senior Rachel Bell stated, “It’s not the fact that I oppose the entire petition, but I felt like the person who wrote it took the issue to a new level. The dress code isn’t for us to look like we are from the Twenties. It is to make us feel comfortable and look classy.”

Ryan Elkins, a freshman, posted his own petition supporting the dress code that has since been taken down. Elkins cites “male gaze” as a reason for the dress code.

Jettaka McWilliams, a senior, stated,”Teach males not to stare. If I don’t sexualize my body, then other people have no right to.”

The administration released no official statement, but Mr. Charles Panepresso, assistant principal of student services, stated, “The policy has been successful for five years. Everywhere [there is] a dress code. Just the other day I wasn’t allowed into a fancy restaurant because I wasn’t wearing appropriate attire.”

Ms. Nancy Kurtz, the head of academic affairs and the force behind the dress approval, stated, “Most girls seem to have no problem having their dresses approved.”

Many students begged to differ. Students who commented on said their dresses were not approved for things that were originally allowed, were rejected even though they had been allowed last year, or were rejected because of body type.

Senior Cecelia Jaskel wrote: “I am signing this petition in honor of my friends who purchased dresses that they looked absolutely stunning in and that their parents approved of but their dresses were denied by the school. Some prom dresses are non-returnable, and it is impossible for a store to hold your dress for more than one day for they risk the loss of a potential sale. Many girls borrow dresses because it is all they can afford and it does not make sense that dresses worn by girls last year somehow now are deemed inappropriate this year.”

One of senior Rebecca Meschler’s arguments is that students are taught in school to express themselves, but the prom dress code restricts self-expression.

“Another thing we were taught was self expression and individuality,” she said. “How can we show off who we are proudly when have so many restrictions and people telling us no?”

She added: “We spend 5 days a week, about 7 hours a day matching everyone else in our school with how we are told to dress, so why can’t we wear what we want for 3-4 hours at a dance on the weekend?”

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