By Vikki Ortiz Healy and Kate Thayer
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Chicago area teenager argued that her school’s off-the-shoulder (clothing) policy unfairly targeted female more than male students. After being called out for her outfit, she collected more than 2,000 signatures in support of changing the high school’s dress code.
PARK RIDGE, Ill.
A 17-year-old Park Ridge girl who was told her senior portrait was not appropriate for the yearbook because she wore an off-the-shoulder sweater has reignited ongoing debate about school dress codes and how they should best be applied.
“I was just frustrated that this sort of thing is an issue,” said Grace Goble, who fired off a complaint to administrators at Maine South High School and started an online petition seeking to change the rules. She said the photo studio that took the shots of her wearing the shoulder-baring yellow top in June later decided that the outfit choice “was not allowed.”
“I have spent a good majority of my life wondering why exactly women’s shoulders are so offensive,” Goble wrote in the petition on Change.org. “It is ridiculous that young women aren’t allowed to wear the clothing that they wish to wear simply because it could possibly distract someone.”
Within hours of posting her petition, Goble, who argued that Maine South’s off-the-shoulder policy unfairly targeted female more than male students, collected more than 2,000 signatures in support of changing the high school’s dress code.
Principal Ben Collins called Goble to assure her that he and other administrators did not reject the photo and that a retake was unnecessary.
Maine Township High School District 207 officials said Tuesday that they are looking into its arrangement with the photo studio and could not comment on how the misunderstanding occurred.
Meanwhile, as parents across the Chicago area begin back-to-school shopping, school administrators say the case is the latest example of the complicated nature of school dress codes: a perennial issue that seems to only become more complicated in an age of short shorts, wide social media networks and too many competing interests to count.