Teens are getting better at pushing back against school dress codes that target gender and race

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, October 19, 2023 - 12:10pm

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A female student texting while leaning against a locker while wearing a crop top
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A contentious debate over the school dress code in the Higley Unified School District finally came to an end this week, when the governing board approved a new policy that does not explicitly prohibit midriffs. 

Midriffs had become the center of the debate in the East Valley district, culminating in one father stripping down to a spaghetti strap, stomach-baring tank top at a board meeting. The policy does still require clothing to cover private body parts and undergarments, unless they are “incidentally visible.”

School dress codes have long been the subject of debate, though that debate has changed over the years. Madelaine Adelman joined The Show to shed some light on why.

Adelman is a professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University and an anthropologist who studies gender-based violence in families and schools. 

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