Move over, Kindergarten Cop! A Houston dad, Jef Rouner, called out his 5-year-old daughter’s school district after her kindergarten class shamed the little girl for wearing a spaghetti-strap dress.
Rouner vented his frustration at the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in a blog post written for the Houston Press, which has gone viral after it was published on April 22. The dad recalled how his daughter had her heart set on wearing a “rainbow sun dress” as the spring weather kicked in.
“I finally acquiesced and let her,” he wrote. “Still it wasn’t too surprising to me to see her walk out of school that afternoon with her T-shirt on over the dress and her jeans on under it.”
It was their exchange that shocked him. “‘Did you get cold, sweetheart?’ I asked her,” he wrote. “‘No,’ she said a little crestfallen. ‘I had to change because spaghetti straps are against the rules.’”
“I’m not surprised to see the dress code shaming come into my house,” Rouner wrote. “I didn’t think, though that it would make an appearance when she was five years old. Five. You get me? She’s five. Cut her hair and put her next to a boy with no shirt on and she is fundamentally identical. I guess you could argue that a boy would not be allowed to wear a shirt with spaghetti straps either, but the day they sell anything like that in the boys section of a Target I will happily withdraw my objections.”
Rouner called out the double standards between boy and girl dress codes at his daughter’s school district. “I mean prohibitions against exposing the chest or torso could hypothetically apply to boys except that they don’t. Not really. They don’t sell boys clothes that do that,” he wrote. “There’s nothing that is marketed to boys that is in anyway comparable to a skirt or a sun dress. Essentially, a school dress code exists to prevent girls from displaying too much of their bodies because reasons.”
The dress’ purpose was for comfort, according to Rouner. “It’s a dress from a mall chain store in her size. It covers everything but her shoulders and a small section of her upper chest and back. She’s worn it to church, and in the growing heat she was looking forward to wearing it a lot because it’s light and comfortable,” he wrote. “You know what really grills my cheese about it? It’s not even the shirt they made her put on over her top, it’s the pants they made her wear underneath. It’s a full-length dress that she has to hold up to keep from getting wet in uncut grass.”
Making matters worse? “She even had a small set of shorts underneath because it was gym day. But because the top part of her dress apparently exposed the immoral sinfulness of her bare shoulders she also had to pull on jeans even though her legs remained completely covered as part of her punishment,” he wrote.
Though rare, the issue does go both ways, he wrote, citing his own personal “battle for my long hair throughout middle and high school… There’s literally no other possible reason to force a boy to cut his hair if he doesn’t want to.”