READINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The school board in Readington, N.J., on Wednesday night approved a compromise, following a heated debate about a ban on strapless dresses for an upcoming eighth grade dance.
Under the compromise, strapless dresses still will not be allowed at the Readington Middle School dance in June. But the school will permit “a single clear or spaghetti strap to reduce the risk of wardrobe malfunction,” as described at a school board meeting Wednesday night.
Students who already bought strapless dresses were told they will have to alter them, 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reported.
The board voted three times before reaching the compromise.
Some parents criticized principal Sharon Moffat when she prohibited strapless dresses for a June dance because she said they distract boys. Some parents said such a statement was sexist while others said they had already purchased their daughters’ dresses.
“What bothers me most about this rule is that it implicates that no matter how women are dressed, it’s their fault when something happens to them and that is appalling,” said parent Harry Nijenhuis.
Many parents said it’s up to them, not the principal, to determine what their children wear.
“It’s ridiculous. Maybe blonde-haired girls distract boys. Should they dye their hair then? I don’t think it was her decision to make,” said parent Ann Reiche.
Eighth grader Kaitlin May said she also found the strapless dress ban insulting, given the principal’s reasoning.
“Girls have to be made themselves to be in basically, like, Amish dresses is what they’re saying, because boys can’t control themselves,” she said, “and I think that’s absolutely wrong.”
Earlier, the district released a statement that said: “The Readington Township School District has a policy regarding dress code which is being universally applied to the school day and school events. We regret that a small number of families are upset by this and we welcome their input and communication. The Board of Education regularly reviews and revises policy through its Communications/Policy Committee.”
The district canceled a dance last Friday after it said a threat was made against the principal “from overseas” that was not considered credible.
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