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HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston high school principal has implemented a dress code for parents because she says it is necessary to establish high standards for students, despite criticism that the move could be discriminatory.

James Madison High School will turn away parents who show up to school wearing pajamas, hair rollers, leggings or certain other items of clothing, including bonnets.

“No one can enter the building or be on the school premises wearing a satin cap or bonnet on their head for any reason,” Principal Carlotta Outley Brown said in a letter to parents dated April 9. “You also cannot wear a shower cap of any kind in the building.”

Madison High’s dress code was established shortly after KPRC-TV in Houston reported that a parent attempting to enroll her child was asked to leave because of her attire, which included a headscarf and a T-shirt dress.

Another Madison High parent, Tomiko Miller, told the Houston Chronicle that she was “almost insulted” by the new code.

“I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used,” she said. “It was demeaning. And I’m African American — and if it’s misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business.”

Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, called codes relating to women’s hair “classist” and “belittling.”

“I’m sorry, this principal may have plenty of money and time to go to the hairdresser weekly and have her stuff done,” he told the newspaper. “Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do? Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial.”

Houston Independent School District policy allows schools to establish standards for student attire and grooming, but no policy exists concerning parents, the Chronicle reported. District administrators did not respond Tuesday to a request by The Associated Press for comment, and a message left for Outley Brown was not returned.

“Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education. You are your child’s first teacher,” Outley Brown said in her letter. “However, please know we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards.”

Also banned from school grounds are men wearing undershirts, parents wearing sagging pants or shorts, revealing tops, torn jeans “showing lots of skin,” and “dresses that are up to your behind.”

Outley Brown, who is African American, took over as principal during the current school year, becoming the school’s fourth principal in five years. She previously was the principal at a Houston elementary school that routinely met state academic standards and occasionally earned awards for performing above average, the paper reported.

The elementary school at one point received one of the country’s highest academic honors and a U.S. Department of Education publication noted at the time that Outley Brown, concerned that parents were showing up in “inappropriately informal dress,” would explain to them that “they may not appear at school so dressed and firmly turned them away, as she did any parents using inappropriate language on school grounds.”

The push for parents to dress up has played out elsewhere. A dress code previously was pitched by lawmakers in Tennessee, where a bill sponsored by state Rep. Antonio Parkinson and one other ultimately was tabled. The bill would require all Tennessee schools to adopt a parent code of conduct that could include a parental dress code.

Parkinson brushed aside concerns that dress codes could target one class or race over another, telling the newspaper that, “I’m not speaking about affordable as much as priorities. … What could be a higher priority than bringing your child to school? You wouldn’t go to a date like that.”

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22 thoughts on “Houston High School Principal Institutes Dress Code…For Parents

  1. Albertah on said:

    Some women wear head scarfs for religious reasons. Th principal can not rule out religious rights. NOT even YOU Black people. I’m Black and i wear scarfs I really don’t care if y’all like it or not. It’s OK for you to put Hair Crack cream relaxer in your hair & flat iron it to appease your Master & It’s Ok to wear scarfs too.

  2. The sad part about this is the principal had to implement the dress code for parents in the first place. I for one am sick of people showing up at schools, parks, stores etc. in their PJ’s, shower caps, sleeping bonnets, and whatever suit their fancy. Get some Class and Decency about yourself. Principal, continued doing what you have to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. msladj on said:

    I agree with the principle. People need to have more pride in their appearance. Kids learn behavior syarting at home. I am a teacher and have seen this first hand – not just black, but all ethnicities. Lets get back to being proud of our appearance, and the way we carry ourselves–that goes for the people who run this country as well. Bring pride and dignity back to America-period!

  4. Queen... on said:

    YASSSS, LUV IT, WAY TO GO PRINCIPLE. THE FACT THAT SOMEONE HAS TO EVEN IMPLEMENT THIS SHOWS JUST HOW FAR OFF THE PATH PEOPLE ARE. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YAOUR HAIR IN ROLLERS, PJ PANTS WEARING, CURSING NASTY MOUTH SELF COME UP TO THE SCHOOL AND EMBARRASS YOUR CHILD. AND THEN WHEN SOMEONE WONT LET THEIR CHILD PLAY WITH YOUR CHILD YOU WANT TO GET AN ATTITUDE ABOUT IT. IF YOU LOOK THAT WAY WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILD AT HOME, HELL I WOYLDNT WANT MY CHILD TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE TO PLAY EITHER. THEN YOUR CHILD GETS SHUNNED BY THE OTHER CHILDREN. HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR YOUR CHILD IF NOT YOURSELF. IF YOU CAN’T WEAR IT TO WORK, DONT WEAR IT AT YOUR CHILDS SCHOOL NICE HEAD WRAPS SHOULD BE FINE, I WEAR LOTS OF THEM, AND I HAVE NATURAL HAIR ALSO, AND SOMETIMES I JUST DONT WANT TO BE BOTHERED WITH IT, SO I WRAP IT UP. USE SOME SENSE HERE PEOPLE.

  5. Passing Through!! on said:

    @TED…While I agree mom should have dressed better as all parents should have some standard of dress code when leaving the house, I see your point in that this new rule will mainly target blacks as most rules and laws do, even when we lawfully comply. When they say this applies for “Everyone” every race we know who they’re really talking about. Had black mom been some young white, tatted blond with cleavage or fake titties popping out of her shirt trying to register her child she wouldn’t have been turned away. They should have pulled mom aside and had a conversation with her as opposed not allowing her to register her daughter. But we’ll see how this new rule holds up to everyone.

    • African American Woman on said:

      Wouldn’t anyone know if this fool didn’t try to score her 15 minutes of fame with this crap…She made this mess public…stop making excuses

  6. Love Doll on said:

    My Dad raised my 4 sisters and I to look our very best no matter where we go and I take pride in
    how cute! cute! my sisters and I look where ever we go ! so kudos to that principal!

  7. I am sorry but I am not mad at this principal. I agree. And it does NOT take money to try to look descent. Most of the time, parent KNOW when they have to go to the school for an event or meeting. If you have to rush, keep a nice cap/hat (I have this) . And there are beautiful head wraps very cheap beauty stores that look expensive and fancy. And some of these parents look like they just got off work from a strip club and come to school around other kids in an EDUCATION setting.

    • African American Woman on said:

      I totally agree Amber. Some people will come on here and defend the crappiest low of the lowest behavior simply because the offenders are black. The fact that this principal had to institute rules for appropriate dress highlights the fact that these people either don’t understand or don’t care about decency. We as a people, and don’t tell me about white people because I’m not concerned with them; have adopted a anything goes policy. We should ALL be concerned where our children are concerned. Children go to school to learn and respect one another. How do you teach a child self-respect and self-love when you’re Mom comes to school looking like trash. These are YOUR kids people. We don’t need anymore of our kids attaining to be nothing. There should be a no nonsense understanding between us a people because the worst of us give everybody else the idea that this is how all of us act. In the years of the Civil Rights era, the most oppressive forms of racism existed. I have so much respect and endearment for the ones who came before us because there were standards that must be adhered to. People dressed like dignified people, you were NOT allowed to disrespect your parents or other adults. Education was of the utmost importance because that was the way out of poverty. Just 50 years later; we’ve replaced this behavior with rachetness, trash, criminality and apathy. Folks; this should enrage us, not invoke sympathy for these “poor” people. Any fool that supports this nonsense is just as bad as these idiots in this article.

  8. Ted Gravely on said:

    This is a tough one because obviously Carlotta Outley Brown is accomplished. It’s her time to be in charge. She sets the standard for the school. Parents can respect that, take their kids out of the school, or stay at the curb. However, folks are clapping like ignorant seals. No head scarfs (I’m thinking infringing on religious freedoms). People are sheep – The bigger issue is setting arbitrary rules and saying that it doesn’t target demographics is idiotic. A few years ago the racist U.S Army leadership set hair standards and well….it was so racist and targeted that members of Congress got involved. How about the Principal simply lead by example? Meet the parents in the morning when they are dropping kids off to school and speak privately with them instead of making a spectacle. Don’t tell someone, show them by your actions. Some parents won’t go in the building unless absolutely necessary. They will simply stay in the car and not engage her. They will despise her. What happens if the school board comes out and renders a natural hair policy, no braids, twists, ect? Remember the little Louisiana girl – Faith Fennidy. This “professional” has a stinking weave. I rather my woman wear a head scarf than stinking sewn in hair hat. All that accomplishment and she still hates her natural hair. Love how folks set rules that suits them. When it’s the other way around, you’re screaming like a fool. Lead. Take off that wig or fake hair and teach young black girls to love their natural selves. Since you want parents to set the grooming standards – take off the filthy asian hair. Hypocrite. There are always biases in rules.

    • Sorry Ted, natural hair, braids, etc is NOT the same as someone walking in with rollers. Big difference. I say people can wear natural hair,braids,dreads, etc as long as it look good and neat.

      • African American Woman on said:

        Snow being white is racist to Ted. The military’s policy of dress and hair, including facial hair, applies to everyone and is mandatory for uniformity. The school that told the girl that her weave didn’t mean natural hair standards was a black school! There are rules that are in place for various occupations and situations and that doesn’t mean that black people are exempt from them just because their black. The military is now banning transgenders because of who they are; you standing up for them too? Or is our fake outrage selective (Amber, this was more aimed at Ted)

  9. ResponsibilityInControl on said:

    I think this is a policy that should be instituted at every school in the US. There is not any racism in this policy African Americans are NOT the only people that dress this way. I applaud this principle for setting the mark and trying to teach kids how we should carry ourselves. This has nothing to do with money or opportunity dont show up looking like a hood rat or trailer trash………….! Lastly you wouldnt go to a court of law dressed this way, you wouldnt go to an interview dressed this way…..but you embarrass yourself and your child and dress this way going to a school. This is 100% a good policy…….and to those who dont agree the guilty dogs bark first….If you dont set an example for your own children dont be mad that someone else is trying to!

  10. African American Woman on said:

    Dumbass people. What the real sad part about this is that this principal has to actually tell these rocks for brains “parents” that showing up to school looking like last week’s trash is inappropriate. These folks will fight to stay living like trash, but I bet none of these jokers show up to school board meetings or are on the PTA. This is why there will always be a permanent underclass and dammit; they will fight for the right to be trash.

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