AR principal addresses prom dress code criticisms and petition

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Archbishop Ryan High School Principal Joseph McFadden spoke to students during homeroom this morning about a change.org petition that states objections to the dress code for the junior dance and senior prom.

The petition, created Feb. 11, had more than 660 signatures as of tonight. Many people who signed the petition gave specific reasons that they felt compelled to sign it.

Mr. McFadden said the petition “made it sound as if you could not attend prom unless you’re wrapped in a curtain.” He said the petition also made it look as if every dress was not approved. That is not the case.

“There were less than eight dresses that have not been approved,” he said.

Many people brought up in the petition that they think having male teachers approving their dresses is “weird” and “uncomfortable.” McFadden said he thinks of this as misplaced criticism.

“Male teachers have to address the uniform everyday,” he said. “The implication seems to be that having a male as part of this decision is somehow wrong.”

McFadden also took issue with contentions that other Archdiocese of Philadelphia high schools do not have prom dress guidelines to follow.

“[Archbishop] Carroll [High School] has put girls in 2XL T-shirts at their prom,” McFadden said. “We’re trying to avoid these issues.”

McFadden also addressed how students have taken their complaints and criticism to social media.

“I think we are better than that,” he said.

“We need to find better ways to resolve conflict,” he added. “The issue could have been resolved with people talking to each other.”

Mr.McFadden said he and other administration take appointments to meet with students, and that his door is always open.

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