School Board to Review Strapless Dress Ban

School board members will review a dress code since a principal banned girls from wearing strapless dresses to an eighth-grade dance.

More than a dozen parents and Readington Middle School students spoke at Tuesday night's board meeting in the central New Jersey township.

Charlotte Nijenhuis, who has a 13-year-old daughter, claims principal Sharon Moffat told her such dresses distract boys.

The Courier News of Bridgewater reports students and parents said the rule should have been clarified earlier because many parents already have purchased their daughters' dresses. Others said that dresses with straps can be even more revealing.

Many parents said it's up to them, not the principal, to determine what their children wear.

Some parents were upset with the apparent description of their daughters.

“I took a lot of concern with that statement,” parent Michele D’Amico said, according to the paper. “To me that’s sexual discrimination. That is not what I want my daughter to experience.”

“Don’t look at my daughter like she’s a sexual object,” mother Mary Kay Ross said, according to the paper.

The school board will meet May 14.

The June dance is funded by the parents and is held off school grounds.

Another parent, Nancy Garceau, told NBC 4 New York that the kids are old enough to handle formal dress.

"They get dressed up, it's a nice formal occasion, and they're much more mature than that, and they can handle it better than they're getting credit for," she said.

Not everyone agreed. Father Phillip Ritter said at the meeting, "It's not about a dress. It's respecting authority. If this is what they've decided to do, do it." 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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