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“These Are My Babies”: Dad Strips Down At School Board Meeting To Make A Point On Dress Code
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“These Are My Babies”: Dad Strips Down At School Board Meeting To Make A Point On Dress Code

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It’s not uncommon to see that a new school board meeting controversy has reached the headlines now. After all, each parent has a unique perspective on the best way to educate their children, and the idea of entrusting this vital responsibility to others doesn’t sit well with all of them.

The most recent example of the complexities of finding common grounds when it comes to school policies took place in Gilbert, Arizona, when a father stripped down to a tank top and short jean shorts to protest the changes in the district’s dress code policy.

Image credits: AZFamily | Arizona News

“Under the proposed policy, this would be appropriate in a classroom,” Ira Latham said at a Sep. 20 meeting as he took off his shirt and pants at the podium to show a more revealing outfit.

Discussions to establish a more flexible dress code at the Higley Unified School District began in May.

The new proposed policy established that “clothing must cover all private body parts and/or undergarments and must not be see-through. Undergarment waistbands and/or straps that are incidentally visible under clothing are permitted; however, undergarments may not be worn as clothing.”

“Under the proposed policy, this would be appropriate in a classroom,” he said

Image credits: AZFamily | Arizona News

Unlike the previous rules, which were installed in 2001, students would now be permitted to expose their chest, abdomen, and midriff.

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Latham, who has four children who study in the district, believes that the new dress code would interfere with the learning process by creating unwanted distractions.

“As a parent, I expect the district to be able to enforce policies that help my children be able to go to class and know how they can contribute to a safe classroom environment, as well as limiting the needless distractions in class,” he said.

The new policy allows students to expose their chest, abdomen, and midriff as long as they cover their private parts

Image credits: AZFamily | Arizona News

“This policy does not do that. I also think that it brings a lot of unnecessary pressure on teachers having to deal with the vagueness of this policy.”

The only way he could make a statement about the lax rules, he explained, was by demonstrating what they would look like on his own body.

“Because I have no other way to describe my concerns about this policy, I’ll do an object lesson,” he said before removing his clothes.

“Now, if you ask me, this is inappropriate for a board meeting. If you have a dress code policy that allows this in a classroom, it does not promote a safe classroom environment.”

The governing board president, Tiffany Schulz, argued that the old dress code disproportionally targeted female students

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Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual photo)

Another governing board member, Anna Van Hoek, advocated for keeping the more modest dress code, arguing that it prepared students for entering the workforce and that it was synonymous with “self-respect.”

“If we are prepping our children to be college and career-ready, then they need to learn to be able to have self-respect, and that doesn’t include showing off their body parts,” she stated, a concern that was shared by Latham.

The dad of four later told NBC: “The dress code that they wanted to get to is just basically a dress code for a public pool. Make sure that kids cover their underwear, and that’s about it,” Latham said.

You can watch Latham’s dramatic demonstration below

In contrast, the governing board president, Tiffany Schulz, argued that the existing rules disproportionately targeted female students, as they are the ones who commonly wear tank tops and crop tops.

“We’re saying that they need to cover up because of the way it might make someone else feel, and that is wrong,” Schulz said.

The board president said that teachers needed to focus on teaching, not on measuring a student’s shirt or making her feel “uncomfortable.”
Amanda Wade, another governing board member, backed Schulz’s ideas: “These are kids. They’re not at a job and I recognize at the end of the day this is the most job that they have but we need to allow freedom,” she explained.

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Despite Latham’s dramatic demonstration, the school board voted 3-2 in favor of updating the dress code policy.

However, other school districts have gone in the opposite direction.

Mississippi’s Madison, Rankin, and Hinds County districts have prohibited crop tops and established that short and long-sleeved shirts must cover the stomach. Under the new policy, pants are not allowed to have holes, and certain skirt lengths are not permitted.

Many people agreed with the dad, saying that traditional uniforms are a better alternative

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Others expressed their disapproval of the father’s point, saying that clothes don’t interfere with the learning process

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saderman avatar
Shelli Aderman
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about teaching other people not to OGGLE AND BLAME WOMEN! 🤦🏽‍♀️

mullins-carol avatar
Carol mullins
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's about what it teaches women..hey girl, if you dress seductively with all your accoutrement showing the boys are going to get ga ga over you, you'll have lots and lots of attention and will learn that your body can produce a type of power. Hey 16 year old, don't like that math score? That's OK, put in a tight pair of jeans, and a really snug shirt that pushes your breast up and out, then lean over your male teachers desk and ask nicely for him to change the grade. It will work, promise, oh and if you want to be more popular, better get into the fashion,.

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sonjahackel avatar
sturmwesen
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How is how children dress a schools concern? If parents want THEIR kids to dress a certain way that's THEIR responsibilty. And dressing how others want you to has nothing to do with self respect.

zaihoward avatar
Zai Howard
Community Member
7 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

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karentetrault avatar
Zoey Rayne
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Teach your boys to respect all girls and women no matter what they are wearing.

Load More Comments
saderman avatar
Shelli Aderman
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about teaching other people not to OGGLE AND BLAME WOMEN! 🤦🏽‍♀️

mullins-carol avatar
Carol mullins
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's about what it teaches women..hey girl, if you dress seductively with all your accoutrement showing the boys are going to get ga ga over you, you'll have lots and lots of attention and will learn that your body can produce a type of power. Hey 16 year old, don't like that math score? That's OK, put in a tight pair of jeans, and a really snug shirt that pushes your breast up and out, then lean over your male teachers desk and ask nicely for him to change the grade. It will work, promise, oh and if you want to be more popular, better get into the fashion,.

Load More Replies...
sonjahackel avatar
sturmwesen
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How is how children dress a schools concern? If parents want THEIR kids to dress a certain way that's THEIR responsibilty. And dressing how others want you to has nothing to do with self respect.

zaihoward avatar
Zai Howard
Community Member
7 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

Load More Replies...
karentetrault avatar
Zoey Rayne
Community Member
7 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Teach your boys to respect all girls and women no matter what they are wearing.

Load More Comments
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