READINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A dance was canceled at Readington Middle School in New Jersey Friday night, after reports of threats stemming from a ban on strapless dresses at an eighth grade dance scheduled for later.
The school said it had no choice to cancel the dance, after the principal received a threatening e-mail, CBS 2 reported Friday night.
School officials said they do not believe the threat is credible, but they did not want to take any chances.
Earlier this week, parents and students protested over the school’s decision to forbid strapless dresses for the eighth grade dance in mid-June. Parent after parent spoke before the Readington Township Board of Education, upset about what they called a rash and unjustified order.
Samantha Reiche, an eighth grader, showed up with her mother Tuesday night to protest the ban.
“I don’t really think it’s fair. It’s not her decision to make,” she said, adding that she had already bought her dress and it is, in fact, strapless.
Samantha Reiche and her mother, Anne Rieche, claimed the principal told them the move was necessary because strapless dresses distract teenage boys.
“It’s ridiculous. Maybe blonde-haired girls distract boys. Should they dye their hair then?” Ann Reiche said. “I don’t think it was her decision to make.”
While parents complained about the random nature of the ban, Superintendent Barbara Sargent and board members just listened.
Earlier, the district released a statement which 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.”
But parents said it’s more than being upset. It’s a matter of sexual discrimination.
“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.
The school board is referring the strapless ban to its policy committee, and could overturn the principal’s decision. Eighth grade girls will find out if they can wear the dresses many have already bought by the next meeting on May 14.
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