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Principal says no more du-rags, curlers, sagging pants at her school — worn by parents

Carlotta Outley Brown, who took over as principal at James Madison High School during the current school year has implemented a dress code for parents. (Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Principal Carlotta Outley Brown sent a letter to the students’ families and also posted on the school’s website informing them of the new dress code, which also forbids hair rollers, shower caps, bonnets and clothes that show too much skin. The principal said the policy is important to demonstrate to students the appropriate attire allowed in school.

“Please know that if you break our school rules/policies or do not follow one of these rules, you will not be permitted inside the school until you return appropriately dressed for the school setting,” Brown’s letter reads. “Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education. You are your child’s first teacher. However, please know that we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards. We are preparing your child for a prosperous future.”

The letter was dated April 9, which is apparently one day after a mother was forbidden to enter the school to enroll her daughter because of the short length of her dress and the headscarf she was wearing, according to KPRC-TV.

The mother, Joselyn Lewis, had asked to see a copy of the school’s dress code policy, but school officials reportedly didn’t oblige. Instead, they called the police department, Lewis told KPRC-TV.

Newsweek reported it reached out to the principal for comment but she didn’t immediately respond back.

Outley Brown took over the school halfway through its second semester when its old principal quit, not even lasting a year. She came from Houston’s Peck Elementary School, where she made national news in 2015 when the school got $100,000 from Target as part of its “Thanks a Billion” campaign during a live broadcast of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

As for the parents of students at James Madison, the clothes no longer allowed include:

  • Any revealing top where breasts are exposed
  • Dresses that are “up to your behind” will not be permitted on the premises or in the building, according to the notice
  • Leggings that show “your bottom and where your body is not covered from the front or the back (rear)” are prohibited
  • Pajamas of any kind.

The policy is not without its critics. Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, specifying how it targets women’s hair said the rule is “classist,” “belittling” and “dismissive.”

“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 Houston Chronicle. “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.”

Some parents aren’t pleased either. One mother, Tomiko Miller told the Chronicle she’s offended by the policy.

“I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used. It was demeaning,” she said. “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.”

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Comment by Akeen Phillip on April 29, 2019 at 1:03pm
That’s okay if they don’t like the rules, when they come in for a job and keep on walking out empty handed, simple rules to prep you for a better future and they can’t even see that what a shame
Comment by caribmama on April 25, 2019 at 7:08pm

So there was a discussion on this on Facebook and everybody was in an uproar if the person making this statement was a white principal. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE IF YOU BRINGING YOUR KID TO SCHOOL LOOKING LIKE A FUCKERY!  A Principal runs that school and is in charge of not only the school, but the kids. Have the decency to dress accordingly when you go out. You kids are the first thing that they see in the morning. If you dressing like FUCKERY what are  you training them for in the future. It don't matter if the principal was BLUE, ORANGE, PURPLE......ETC! You are around children........DRESS ACCORDINGLY!

Comment by Colin on April 25, 2019 at 7:02pm
I agree with her but she's fighting against the tide, that school is probably in the middle of the ghetto
Comment by mr1stroke on April 24, 2019 at 10:56pm
Joseph A lol thats the part i dont understand many of them dont like the rules but want to be part of the society who sets them, its more easier not to get involve take the famn kids someone else, because there are those of us who are very concern about getting our kids ready for the new world, otherwise they can explain why are those rich parents paying for the degrees? Theu know the name of the school is all their kids will need to get a position at google or Apple, the rest of us cannot afford to pay foe degree so we just do the right thing with the right schools
Comment by vaughn mitchell on April 24, 2019 at 8:42pm
The principle is damn right, parents need to show an example. When do we start wearing pajamas to school, that's too damn ghetto.
Comment by Mr. Johnson on April 24, 2019 at 7:40pm
Comment by Joseph A on April 24, 2019 at 7:28pm
100%...These are the rules, if you're unhappy with them, take your child(ren) out and placed them somewhere else where the rules are less strict. Principal Brown, you have my vote.
Comment by mr1stroke on April 24, 2019 at 5:03pm
Yes i agree with her, its about time a black principle step up instead of a white person has to clean up the mess, the way dress brings confident to conduct business and carry your self serious, its a sign of success, im with you, they can do on their personal times off school hours

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