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School Changes The Dress Code After A Mom Wrote A Letter Demanding The Principal Take Her Daughter Clothes Shopping

Photo: Instagram
school changes dress code after mom wrote a letter

A self-described “Sick of the Dress Code Mom” wrote a letter demanding that the middle school principal who flagged her daughter for a dress-code violation take her daughter clothes shopping.

Back in 2017, Catherine Pearlman is a licensed therapist, family coach, author, and mom had enough of the restrictive dress code in her daughter's school and had a creative approach that led to some much-needed change.

 She penned an open letter to the “principal who flagged my daughter’s dress code violation” after her daughter was sent home for the second day in a row for being “dressed inappropriately for school.”

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Pearlman’s letter to the principal hit back at the school's dress code.

Pearlman’s daughter was forced to change into “large mesh shorts that have been worn by only god knows who and potentially never washed.”

After the incident, Pearlman wrote a letter on the Today Parenting Team’s website telling the principal, “to reward you for treating my daughter with such concern, I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping.”

After her letter went viral in 2017, Pearlman went onto Instagram to offer an update on the dress code situation.

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She reported that due to her letter, the school district that contains 50,000 students changed the dress code, so it was no longer acceptable to say girls were a distraction.

The success of Pearlman’s advocacy in standing up for her daughter— and for all students— shows that the pendulum for dress coding has swung far in a conservative direction, one that works to control how girls present in the world.

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In her original letter to the principal, Pearlman said that her daughter was “5’7” and 13 years old. Built more like her father, she has exceptionally long legs and arms.”

"She doesn’t like anything pink or purple or frilly. She won’t wear pants because she gets overheated easily. She absolutely will not wear a dress either. No item of clothing can have a logo visible because to her that’s not cool," she explained. 

Pearlman noted that her daughter “has very long fingers which seems to make finding shorts that won’t get her sent to the principal’s office impossible (On the bright side the piano teacher says those fingers are an asset.)”

In instructing the principal on how to manage the proposed shopping trip, Pearlman advised, “don’t forget that you will have to find something in the stores that also meets with your dress code requirements.”

Pearlman ended her letter with a post-script, stating, “I forgot to thank you for making it clear to my daughter that her body is somehow a distraction, either to herself or to the boys.”

“I thought she might have missed the message earlier in the year when the gym teacher told her she couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys aren’t able to control themselves. I appreciate how hard you are working to drive the point home.”

Pearlman’s letter shows not only a parent’s frustration but the lengths to which institutions will go to police girls’ bodies. 

The fact that the school district changed the dress code is a testament to the power of people in creating grassroots change, a change that was well-warranted.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.