When School Dress Codes Discriminate
While a dress code is supposed to make the school environment more conducive to learning, it frequently does the opposite. In the past year, schools all over the country made national news for the ways they enforce their dress code—asking a student to put duct tape over the holes in her jeans, suspending a student for a skirt that was too short, or sending a student to the office for not wearing a bra—all of which take the focus off learning and place it on girls’ bodies.
At East Longmeadow High School, Massachusetts, six out of the nine dress code regulations targeted female students. The dress code had not been updated since the 1990s. “It was time for us to revisit some of the language,” principal Gina Flanagan said.
Many school dress codes use gendered language, such as “girls must not wear spaghetti straps or show cleavage.” The reasoning? These things are distracting to other students, particularly males. Girlhood expert Shauna Pomerantz of Brock University says that “dress coding” students for being distracting is a form of victim-blaming.
“It’s saying the male response is your fault. Your body is causing negativity,” explains Pomerantz. Sexist rules also set a precedent for men, she adds. “It is offensive to men. It suggests they don’t have the ability to talk to a female student without going wild.”
Marci Kutzer, a fourth-grade teacher at Bertha Ronzone Elementary in Las Vegas, Nevada, says that, while school boards couch dress codes as preparing students for the workplace and adult life, their real purpose is to prevent “distractions.”
Kutzer says that sends a powerful message: “A boy’s education can be compromised by your gender. Please do what you can to neutralize it.” This clearly puts a burden on female students.
Another notorious dress code rule is the “finger-tip policy.” Female students must wear skirts or shorts that go past their fingertips. While this seems straightforward, students and parents report that for some, it’s impossible to find clothing that complies with the rule.
In Duval County, Florida, Nikki Belsham says that she’s been struggling with this rule since she was in school, and now her daughter is facing the same dilemma.
Shopping for her daughter is difficult; while Belsham can find appropriate clothing at the mall, it doesn’t pass the test. This is a common problem.
“Take a tall, skinny 12 year old girl—her shorts may not pass this finger length test and would be considered inappropriate for school, even though her butt is covered and the shorts are relatively long,” she explains.
Belsham also says that administration won’t enforce the rule with boys. “Not one person in administration would even look at or question the length of a boy’s shorts.”
‘White Male Default’
Kutzer says that she will only “dress code” students if their clothing is clearly so tight it is uncomfortable. Her school follows “standard school attire,” (SSA) so students wear uniforms. On laundry day, however, some students show up without. Other student’s families can’t afford to keep up with their growing children, so their uniforms are ill-fitting.
“We are told by our administrators to send non-compliance issues to the office, but I only refer kids who are clearly wearing too tight or uncomfortable clothing, and I send them to the nurse, who keeps a stash of extra clothing for this type of situation,” explains Kutzer.
The high school attended by her daughter, however, uses a dress code policy rather than the SSA. Kutzer noticed that it essentially targets female and minority students—the focus being on on parts of the female anatomy, like backs, shoulders, and legs.
A 2018 study by the National Women’s Law Center found that Black girls in District of Columbia schools are singled out by unfair dress codes, which, when enforced, can cause them to fall behind in school.
“Targeting styles of clothing that are mostly associated with a particular minority group is discriminatory. When styles such as ‘sagging pants’ are the issue, we are putting a burden predominantly on black males,” says Kutzer.
She calls this the “white male default,” a common trend for school dress codes. “Dressing as most white young men do seems to be what is encouraged.’
In 17-year-old Maddie Reeser’s Baltimore City public school, it’s the Black girls at her school who are the most frequently dress coded—a double discrimination. “My white friends rarely get sent to the office, but my Black friends do quite often,” says Reeser.
Another student said she brought up this issue to a male administrator, who told her it was “because white girls don’t have as much to show.” The student says this comment made her feel uncomfortable, let along failing to address the inequality.
Despite the fact that Reeser’s school has a uniform, she and her peers still faced the same issues that Belsham described at her Duval County school. “The rule should be based on the clothes, not how they fit, because it’s different for each person,” says Belsham.
Despite the rules being the same for every girl, teachers end up enforcing the rules more strictly with Black females, and in a way that is humiliating.
Many dress codes can cause black students to fall behind academically, according to a 2018 National Women’s Law Center study. Looking at public schools in the District of Columbia, the report found that three in four D.C. public high school dress codes say students can be pulled out of class or school for dress code violations.
“It’s outrageous that girls are losing critical class time simply for what they are wearing,” said NWLC Education Fellow and report co-author, Kayla Patrick. “This sends a disturbing message to all students: What a girl looks like is more important than what she learns and thinks. No girl should ever have to forfeit her education because her shirt is the wrong color or she has a hole in her jeans.”
Making All Students Feel Comfortable
East Longmeadow principal Flanagan said she’s tried to target inequalities at her own school by creating a gender-neutral dress code, and by involving students in the dress code process. “Instead of saying no low cut shirts or cleavage, the dress code says all private parts must be covered at all times,” she says.
Pomerantz recommends giving students lots of leeway to express themselves with fashion. If something truly crosses the line, there’s a way to tell them, without enforcing victim-blaming.
“A question you can ask is ‘What is it about dressing this way that’s so important to you?’” Pomerantz recommends.
Many schools are looking into updating their dress code policies by making them more gender neutral, gathering student input and changing the wording—just taking the blame off females for “distracting” male students. Kutzer says the SSA at her school promotes equality fairly successfully—at least at the fourth-grade level. The districts hasn’t yet introduced the SSA at the high school level.
“We want our kids to feel comfortable when they come to school,” says Flanagan. “Who knows? Five or ten years from now we may have to update again to fit the changing times.”
Girls Against Dress Codes – Rethinking Schools
“Ugh, Dress Codes!” The title of one of 15-year-old Izzy Labbe’s SPARK Movement blog posts encapsulates what I’ve heard so many girls say they feel about their middle and high school dress codes.
Izzy wrote her blog after years of frustration, beginning in early middle school when she began to notice girls’ bodies become objects of adult interest and surveillance. She honed her critique as part of SPARK Movement, an intergenerational girl-fueled activist project I co-founded in 2010. In her central Maine high school, Izzy and her friend Hannah formed the school’s first-ever Feminist Club. On the top of their list was a challenge to the terms of a dress code that penalized girls for wearing shorts and spaghetti-strap tops. After reasoned conversation with administrators failed, club members quietly posted dozens of 8.5 x 11″ sheets of white paper with large black print on school bulletin boards: “Instead of publicly shaming girls for wearing shorts on an 80-degree day, you should teach teachers and male students to not overly sexualize a normal body part to the point where they apparently can’t function in daily life.”
Izzy is now a first-year college student, but just this spring another Maine girl, 6th grader Molly Neuner, made national news for challenging her school’s dress code. Like so many before her, she joined a coalition of girls across the country using the Twitter hashtag #iammorethanadistraction. Reading her story, two things strike me: This issue is not going away and most adults don’t see the gift the issue offers.
Protests against dress codes get to the very heart of what it means to be an adolescent girl. It’s more than a generational claim to personal identity. Dress codes are a stand-in for all the ways girls feel objectified, sexualized, unheard, treated as second-class citizens by adults in authority — all the sexist, racist, classist, homophobic hostilities they experience. When girls push back on dress codes they are demanding to be heard, seen, and respected. This means it’s a moment primed for intergenerational engagement and education.
But too often, only two types of adults appear: administrators under fire for defending their schools’ policies and moms complaining about the shaming their daughters have endured or the school days they’ve missed for dress code violations. Where are the teachers who see the possibility for meaningful conversations about the development of institutional policies, about freedom of speech and choice, about democracy? How about those who see the opportunity to encourage critical thinking about cultural differences or the chance to examine the impact of media and pop culture on gender identity or the influence of rampant marketing and consumerism?
In response to this vacuum of adult engagement, girls are having these conversations without us. Most aren’t asking schools to eliminate dress codes altogether. They simply want policies that are relevant to their lives, policies that account for changes in clothing styles, that value identity development, gender expression, and cultural diversity. And they want and expect to be consulted.
They also say they want policies that are consistent and fairly applied. One study from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, for example, indicates teachers are more likely to discipline girls of color for minor offenses like dress code policy violations and are more likely to give them harsher punishments. Dress code policies can become just another example of a hostile school experience for girls of color, for trans girls, for girls living in poverty. Teachers who have not addressed their own unconscious biases (e.g., their tendency to judge a girl’s character by how she dresses), who have not confronted their internalized sexism or racism, who struggle with students who challenge the gender binary, cannot apply dress codes fairly. The best way to ensure a policy is applied fairly is diversity and bias prevention training for teachers and administrators.
It also helps to spend some time with students who have struggled with school dress codes and who think critically about bias, prejudice, and injustice. Here are a few things I’ve learned from listening to what girls say that make for a good dress code policy:
- “Each dress code rule must have an explanation,” Ejin Jeong writes in a 2015 blog post for SPARK Movement. “So much of the discontent with dress codes is that students often don’t understand why the rules are in place. ” As a result, she says, dress codes “often feel arbitrary and unfair.” Bex Dudley, who blogs for Powered by Girl , tells me her school “tried to enforce ‘no brightly colored bras,’ when the material of the school uniform meant bras were visible. They were literally shaming girls for an ‘issue’ that they’d created.”
- A good policy applies to everyone; there are no gender-specific rules, no double standards. If girls can’t wear tank tops, neither can boys; if girls can’t show collarbones, neither can boys. In fact, girls want policies that have nothing to do with gender. “Have a plan for trans students without them having to ask for it!!” Bex exclaims. A transgender-friendly policy means anyone can wear a dress or a suit or earrings or makeup; anyone can wear their hair long or short. Formulated this way, a dress code can do more than prohibit; it can affirm and protect those who are already vulnerable, including transgender students and those who dress outside the gender binary.
- A good dress code is attuned to cultural and religious differences and allows students to do their hair (Afro, dreadlocks) and wear clothing (hijab, turban, yarmulke) that reflect these differences. And they include rules that protect students from those who appropriate or insult their religion or culture through clothing choices.
- A good policy is practical. It “gives some room for flexibility and expression,” Bex says, “like painted nails and colored hair.” And it maximizes student comfort. It accounts for changes in weather, allowing for seasonable clothing — e.g., shorts, sundresses, and tank tops when the temperature rises.
- Girls say they want policies that do not contribute to sexual objectification by making reference to their body parts or give adults the discretion to use dress code rules to body-shame. Izzy notices that teachers target girls with “curvier figures. . . . [G]irls aren’t getting in trouble for the length of their shorts,” she writes. “They’re getting in trouble for the shape of their bodies” and “it sounds like we’re blaming girls for other people’s negative reactions to their bodies. That’s misogyny! And it’s a problem when it enters classrooms and girls’ bodies are treated — by the staff, by boys, and by each other — as dirty, ugly objects that must be covered.”
- A well-crafted policy makes boys accountable for their behavior. Girls want school dress codes that make it very clear they are not responsible for how boys view them and that their clothing choices are not responsible for boys’ inability to focus or learn. Such assumptions excuse unwanted attention and harassment. It’s a short leap to blaming victims of sexual assault. “Can we throw the phrase ‘provocative clothing’ out the window, please?” Izzy asks. “Saying that clothing is provocative insinuates that it provokes sexual assault or rape or harassment, which is totally false. Harassers harass and abusers abuse regardless of clothing choices.” Instead of policing what girls wear, girls say they want schools to actively teach boys to respect girls and teach everyone to respect transgender students and those who are gender nonconforming.
- Good dress code policies give boys credit for being more than the sum of their hormones. When girls’ bodies are framed as “distractions” to boys, Gabby C. writes in a 2016 blog post for the FBomb, “they not only strip girls of their sense of self-respect and free-expression, but demean boys as incapable of controlling their basic urges.”
- A good policy clearly prohibits public shaming, which means adults don’t make girls kneel in front of classmates to assess skirt length or pull out a measuring tape in public to prove a strap is too narrow. Administrators don’t make an example of those who violate the dress code by forcing them to wear baggy T-shirts emblazoned with “dress code violator” like a scarlet letter. Correcting and shaming are not the same thing.
- A good dress code policy addresses the realities of poverty and social class. Some students wear what they can afford and what’s available to them. A short skirt or tight top are not necessarily attempts to ignore school rules. Dress codes can become a way to target and shame students already struggling with hypervisibility that comes with not wearing the latest styles or the most popular brands, much less clothing that fits well.
- A good policy does not send those who violate the rules home from school. There is no logic to a policy that takes away a girl’s right to education because her skirt is too short. “What’s more distracting, my shoulders or the fact that I just missed an entire history lesson?” Ejin asks.
In truth, most everything useful I’ve learned about girls I’ve learned from girls. On the surface, this isn’t an especially profound statement. But as I look around at the ways adults talk about girls, dismiss what girls know, blame them for the symptoms of societal injustice in all its intersectional forms, create barriers for some and soft landings for others in the guise of concern and protection — I think it’s radical to listen to girls and trust them as the experts on their own experience.
However well-intentioned, dress codes are a perfect example of an educational policy that puts compliance before learning; pressures and demands before support; a top-down bureaucratic solution created by adults at the expense of the time and effort it takes to really listen to and learn from students. And if girls are not heard, we should encourage them to advocate for their right to protest if need be. We can’t say we want girls to have high self-esteem, to take risks, to lead, and then dismiss or punish them when they take this issue on.
With dress codes, we can see up close and personal what it means for girls to struggle in ways that release imagination and hope for something new. The safe and affirming spaces we offer, the questions we pose, the options we create together with students, are catalysts to critical consciousness, to what Maxine Greene calls “wide-awakeness,” and to the possibility that their passionate and forceful reactions to unfairness and hurt will unfold in ways that better their lives going forward.
As Gabby writes for the FBomb, “Girls who take issue with these rules aren’t blindly rebelling, but truly advocating for their right to be heard as sentient subjects rather than passive objects.”
It’s time we listened.
The Struggles of Middle School Girls
Last September, The New York Times came out with a story with a promising opening paragraph that made me happy: “Girls have been told they can be anything they want to be, and it shows. They are seizing opportunities closed to previous generations — in science, sports, and leadership.”
And then I read the second paragraph: “But they’re also getting another message: What they look like matters more than any of that.”
The piece came on the heels of a slew of recent research that showed a rise in depression and anxiety and a dip in confidence for girls, especially as they enter middle school. Friends were telling me stories about their struggling daughters, particularly around social media and feeling left out. Around the same time, a group of us saw the movie Eighth Grade, about an apprehensive 13-year-old girl enduring the last week of middle school. As we left the theater, several of the women immediately started talking about their own middle school experiences — how uncomfortable they felt, how horrible it was. They talked about scenes that resonated with them.
I remember thinking: Wait. Have things really not gotten better for girls? My friends were in middle school 25, 30 years ago. As The New York Times article pointed out, girls today are seizing opportunities previously unavailable to them. They are more likely to sign online petitions and volunteer. They are doing better academically, outperforming boys in English and language arts, and often in math. Women outnumber men in college, especially women from low-income and minority families. Kayla, the protagonist in Eighth Grade, was smart, creative, and kind.
So why was she also painfully awkward and seemingly friendless? Why haven’t things gotten better for middle school girls? And why, I wondered, are we still having these conversations?
I started talking to academics and developmental psychologists. To guidance counselors and parents, to friends and coworkers and middle schoolers. I pulled out some of my books from the early 1990s, when I first dipped into this subject, when girl struggles were first being studied in depth. When headlines in The New York Times read, “Confident at 11, Confused at 16.”
Almost no one I talked to, including Bo Burnham, the director of Eighth Grade, was surprised that despite the progress made — the better grades, the better opportunities — middle school girls were still suffering. Some even felt it was getting harder.
“I’m not surprised, no,” Burnham says. “There’s been a lot of progress made, but the cultural pressures are still insane. And culture is what leads you at that age, I think.”
Especially, it seems, for girls. “Girls in middle school are hitting the culture in very ferocious ways,” says Niobe Way, Ed.D.’94, a professor of developmental psychology at New York University and author of several books, including Deep Secrets.
It’s more like a collision, actually. Although girls and boys are both affected negatively as they move into adolescence, boys tend to lose their way later, and often in less self-directed ways. (This, I know, could be its own feature story.) For girls, the transition to middle school is usually when they start to grasp what society really expects from females.
Burnham saw this when he was prepping for his movie, as he watched hundreds of adolescents’ vlogs online. Girls tended to talk about their souls, boys about things like video games.
“I think our culture forces girls to ask deeper questions of themselves earlier than boys,” he says. “I feel like our culture asks boys ‘What do you like to do?’ and asks girls ‘Who are you?’ I think there’s an immense interior mental pressure put on girls, so ‘deep’ is kind of their starting point. You can’t not be deep when you’ve been buried. It’s also a very specific time in life, and girls are mentally and emotionally maturing a bit quicker at 13 maybe. ”
Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D.’89, a professor at Colby College and author of several books on female development, says part of this is “the kind of increased perspective-taking that happens at early adolescence, where girls start to see how others see them and the importance of performing as the right kind of girl.” Who they once were when they were 8, 9, 10 — confident, sure, spunky, even bossy — “isn’t okay, and what they thought was true is no longer true.”
Simone de Beauvoir wrote about this in The Second Sex back in 1949: “Girls who were the subjects of their own lives become the objects of others’ lives. Girls stop being and start seeming.”
The pressure that comes from this understanding, this transition from subject to object, disorients — and changes — many girls as they move out of elementary school and into middle school. In 1991, when the groundbreaking study Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America was released by the American Association of University Women (aauw), 60 percent of elementary-age girls said they were happy the way they were; 67 percent of boys said the same thing. By middle school, those numbers had dropped for both genders, but significantly for girls overall: to 37 percent, with 56 percent for boys. (The report found that black and Latinx girls fared much better: 59 percent of black middle school girls said they were happy the way they were; 54 percent for Latinx girls.) Unfortunately it hasn’t gotten better. In 2018, pollsters from Ypulse and the Confidence Code for Girls found that between the ages of 8 and 14, girls’ confidence levels fall by 30 percent. At the lowest point, at age 14, boys’ confidence is still 27 percent higher than girls’.
Professor Martin West found similar confidence drops for girls when he surveyed 400,000 California students to see how social-emotional learning develops from fourth grade to senior year. While girls have a higher level of self-management and self-awareness compared to boys, he found that their self-confidence begins lagging in sixth grade and only starts to increase in high school — almost the opposite of boys that age.
“Boys’ confidence in their ability to succeed academically peaks in sixth grade and then declines steadily through 11th grade,” West says, citing the report, “but the total drop in confidence between fourth grade and eighth grade for boys is less than one sixth as large as the drop for girls. And girls’ confidence continues to fall at a faster rate than that of boys through 11th grade.”
It’s why we start hearing once self-possessed girls saying “I don’t know,” in contrast to boys, who start to say, “I don’t care.” (In fact, Way writes in her new book, The Crisis of Connection, boys do care, especially about friendships, which more resemble the plot of Love Story than Lord of the Flies.)
Brown made the “I don’t know” connection while she was studying gender issues at Harvard in the late 1980s and early 1990s with former Ed School Professor Carol Gilligan. She was also working on a seminal book, Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development.
“Girls were wondering, Is it safe to say what I really think? I’m not sure. Better to hedge my bet and play ignorant,” Brown says. “We heard a big increase in ‘I don’t know’ responses at early adolescence from girls who were pretty open and outspoken just a year earlier.”
This struggle to stay connected to their selves, to say what they think and feel, has been referred to as girls “losing their voice” although Brown prefers a different word to describe this major transition.
“I like ‘crisis’ rather than ‘loss of voice,’” she says. “We found girls really struggle and often resist at this time, and they don’t lose their voices as much as they take them underground.” This “crisis of connection,” as Brown and Gilligan call it, forces girls to make a choice.
“Can they stay with themselves and what they feel and think and know and go out of sync with the world,” Brown says, “or get in sync with the world but not with themselves?”
When this happens, the struggle can be too hard for girls to understand at this point in their development, Mary Pipher writes in Reviving Ophelia. “They become overwhelmed and symptomatic.”
One way this shows up: anxiety and depression. A 2017 study in the journal Pediatrics found that between the years 2005 and 2014, adolescent depression rose steadily, but particularly for girls. For boys, the prevalence of a major depressive episode increased from 4.5 percent in 2004 to 5.7 percent in 2014. For girls, it increased from 13.1 percent to 17.3 percent.
Chessie Shaw, Ed.M.’98, a counselor in Massachusetts, sees the anxiety at her middle school, especially once girls reach seventh grade.
“Seventh grade is when I have seen some girls start to question their academic abilities and intelligence. This is especially true in math and science. It’s also when a lot of anxiety and self-harm behaviors come to light,” she says. For example, “I definitely see the most cutting in seventh grade. It’s often around feeling that they aren’t doing well enough in school or that they aren’t ‘good enough’ in some way. ” By the end of eighth, some girls regain their confidence, “however, for another smaller group, it’s when real mental health difficulties start to entrench — suicidal ideation and attempts, experimenting with alcohol and drugs and sex.”
She sees a lot less of this self-destructive behavior with girls of color — a pattern that is consistent with the 1991 AAUW research. “There is definitely relational aggression between girls of color, but it doesn’t appear to result in as much anxiety and self-doubt as in white girls,” she says. “Students of color who participate in the Metco program” — a Massachusetts program that sends kids from underperforming to higher-performing school districts — seem to “have a strong support group in each other. I wonder if this outside-of-school support group is what, in part, shields them from some of the depression.”
So is it actually harder to be a middle school girl today? Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out, thinks that in some ways it is, in part, paradoxically, because of the gains women and girls have made.
“We hope for girls to be smart and brave and interested in stem fields, but we still expect them to be sexually attractive and have a witty and appealing online presence,” she told ParentMap in 2018. “No matter how many achievements they accrue, they feel that they are not enough as they are…. We haven’t really upgraded our expectations; we’ve just added on to the old ones.”
These expectations pile on the pressure. “Add this ‘role overload’ to the fact that girls continue to need to please others first and be likable,” Simmons says. “Girls are still raised with a psychology that is trained to think about other people before themselves. This all is a real recipe for unhappiness.”
The 2018 Ypulse Confidence Code poll found that more than half of teen girls feel pressure to be perfect, while three in four worry about failing. Between ages 12 and 13, the percentage of girls who say they’re “not allowed” to fail increases by a staggering 150 percent. Included is the pressure to physically look a certain way. In a survey of 1,000 young people by Plan International, about three-quarters of girls 14–19 said they felt judged as a sexual object or felt unsafe as a girl. Half said they had heard boys making sexual comments or jokes about girls every day. One third said they heard similar comments from men in their families.
As Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.M.’77, Ed.D.’84, a clinical psychologist who has written extensively on body image and eating disorders, told NPR in 2018 after the Pediatrics depression study came out, women and girls are “still continually bombarded by media messages, dominant culture, humor, and even political figures about how to look — no matter how smart, gifted, or passionate they are.” Celebrities are fat shamed. Supermodels are told by presidents they are no longer 10s. Entertainers like Beyoncé are dubbed “fierce” but never look anything but amazing and sexualized.
Joey Waddy, Ed.M.’13, C.A.S.’14, a counselor at a preK–8 school in New Orleans, says girls don’t always know what to make of these images.
They are “struggling to match the person they felt they were or wanted to be with the examples of celebrities and social media influencers,” he says.
Brown says these powerful messages hit girls just as their own bodies are changing physically. “While boys’ bodies become larger, associated with strength and power, still in our culture girls’ bodies become associated with risk and constraint and warnings,” she says. “Don’t walk home alone at night. Don’t be alone with boys or drink with boys; be sure you know what’s in that cup; be the sexual gatekeeper; don’t dress like a slut. Adults at home and school give once-outspoken, often genderbending preteen girls messages about how to behave in order to be liked and fit in, how not to come off as mean or bitchy, how to avoid harassment and assault or getting written up by the dress code.”
Boys get rules, too, she says, but the rules don’t constrain in the same “relentless” way. “Even the best advice they get — be polite, be respectful to girls, know your developing physical power, don’t hurt others — isn’t close to the same policing girls receive. It also assumes their power in the world.”
Which brings us to what truly has changed for middle schoolers since we were kids: social media. Given that girls spend more than 90 minutes a day on social media, compared to boys at 52 minutes, according to Common Sense Media in 2015, it’s not surprising that reports have surfaced citing the negative impact social media could be having on adolescents, especially girls. Beyond the reports, it’s also what I’m hearing from friends helping their kids navigate technology. There are fewer complaints from parents with boys. They’re there, but more have to do with playing Fortnite and less about the anxiety that develops after reading group texts that border on bullying or feeling left out after looking at photos on Instagram. Feeling excluded certainly isn’t new, but back when I was that age, if you weren’t invited to the mall, you rarely found out, or you found out days after. And perhaps most crucial: No one else shared your humiliation because only the people involved knew about the slight (or perceived slight). Nowadays, seeing photos online of your friends at Starbucks without you is immediate and very public. All of your other friends see it, too. Cell phones, writes Simmons, have become the new bathroom wall.
Emily Weinstein, Ed.M.’14, Ed.D.’17, an Ed School postdoctoral fellow who studies the digital lives of young people, says this has a real impact on adolescent relationships.
“Teens in my interview studies describe how the real-time nature of social apps means that a Friday night can be immediately ruined,” she says. “If you learn by word of mouth on a Monday that your friends hung out without you, you probably still enjoyed your own weekend. In contrast, learning about exclusion in real time on Instagram can doubly disrupt your social connections because it makes you feel disconnected from the people who left you out and it can interfere with your experience of connecting with the people who you’re actually with.”
Today’s apps are also more demanding than they were, even just a few years ago. As Burnham told npr when talking about his early career making YouTube videos,“When I was on social media, it was, like, MySpace, which was, OK, post a profile picture of yourself and list some of your interests and list your friends. And now it’s Instagram, Twitter. ‘What do you look like? What are you thinking?’” he says. “Those are really baser, deeper, stranger questions. And the way kids interface with it, I think, changes the way they feel about the world and themselves.”
Shaw says this goes beyond just feeling left out, especially with everyone curating what they post online by picking only their best photos or altering photos with fun, flattering filters.
“Of course selfies are designed to make the subject look in their best light,” she says. “Seeing a picture online can feel even worse than if the uninvited happened upon them in person.”
Social media also allows people to say and do things they might not in person.
“The alleged ‘beauty’ of social media is that you can be anything and anyone,” Shaw says. “However, how it plays out for most kids is feeling it’s OK to say and do lots of things one would never do in real life. Most boys would never ask girls to lift up their shirts in real life. However plenty do online. Most girls would never say such mean things about a classmate to their face, but they do online.”
There are also a lot of veiled insults and inside jokes that get shared, she says. “Because the poster has a much larger audience on social media, any little mean joke can balloon into a much bigger event and can quickly go from involving five or six girls to almost the whole grade. There are also lots of group texts with sometimes up to 50 kids on them. Kids will delete and block each other and say mean things to each other constantly on these chats. When a parent or I say something like, ‘Just take yourself out of the chat,’ they won’t. The chat is too much a part of their social life. If they left it, they feel like they wouldn’t have any friends, so they endure the comments and constant fights. ”
As one mom of two middle school daughters acknowledges, giving up popular apps isn’t easy.
“I believe that Instagram is evil for middle school, and yet I understand that not having access to social media can hamstring a teen socially,” she says. Although her eighth-grader’s coping strategy when she sees photos and feels left out is to put the phone away, she can’t seem to stay away. “Oftentimes she just blindly scrolls through liking everyone’s stuff because that is what you are supposed to do and how you get likes back,” she says. “She also rarely posts her own pics. Her profile is nearly empty. It’s too stressful for her, and her fear of rejection or embarrassment is intense. I get that; I’m the same way.”
Another mom reluctantly agreed to let her daughter get an app called musical.ly, which lets users make videos set to music. She thought she was shielding her from Instagram and Snapchat issues.
“I can remember one morning when she was getting ready for school. I went in to check on her and she was sitting on her bed in tears,” she says. “As we talked and I dug deeper, I realized she had been on musical.ly, seeing a girl in her grade making a video.” To her daughter, this girl was perfectly dressed with hair and makeup just right. Her daughter “went on about how she didn’t have cute clothes or wasn’t as pretty or fit or popular as this girl. As a mother, this broke my heart.” And all of this happened before the school day even started.
Social media itself isn’t to blame for how girls today are feeling. I know that. It’s not the apps themselves that are the problems — it’s how they are being used. I also know they can be used in positive ways, especially for girls who normally feel silenced. Elsie Fisher, the actress who plays Kayla in the Eighth Grade movie (and who was in eighth grade when the movie was filmed), told Vulture last summer that while the Internet gives space to cyberbullies, it also gives space to people who don’t feel confident taking space.
“It can be used for amazing things,” she says.
After I watched Eighth Grade, I thought about the spaces that Kayla created: floating through school, nervous and self-conscious, and at home, alone, confidently making self-help videos. Was this ability to create two selves a bad thing?
Burnham doesn’t see it that way.
“There certainly is something sad about not being able to embody the ‘you’ you want to be in real life,” he says, “but I’m glad Kayla has a place where she feels comfortable being confident, or pretending to be confident, which to me is just as good. I think we adults often think of the Internet as a place where kids are severely judged, which is true, but it is also often the only safe space kids have to express themselves honestly, whatever that word means.”
Weinstein agrees with Burnham.
“My interpretation was that Kayla was figuring out who she wanted to be, and she was in the process of learning how to express that identity,” she says. “While Kayla didn’t initially feel comfortable raising her voice in offline settings, her YouTube channel provided an outlet to start practicing. And then this practice did transfer to her offline life. Remember the karaoke scene?”
In that scene, which Burnham has said he consistently likes the most, Kayla volunteers to sing karaoke at a birthday pool party with the cool kids that her dad basically gets her invited to. It was her triumph, her resister moment, her time to resurface her voice, even if she was ignored by the other kids.
And that brings us to the good news for middle school girls: Things often start to get better by high school. “When I ask teens and young adults if they ever feel left out related to their social media use, one vein of responses I hear is that they used to feel this way, when they were in middle school or new to social apps,” Weinstein says. “Even older high schoolers describe the experience as something that was more of an issue for their past selves, back before they figured out who their true friends were or how to navigate FOMO” — fear of missing out.
And there are definitely resisters — the girls who collide with culture after elementary school but find a way to stay confident and sure. The girls who don’t go underground, or at least find a way to burrow back. As Brown says, “They’re [Parkland activist] Emma Gonzalez. That’s who they’re looking to. They’re not playing the game. And although girls and women are still making their way through inequitable systems,” the system is shifting of late with the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March.
Waddy sees more resistance now, too.
“The one enouraging thing I’ve seen is more and more of my students becoming passionate about these types of social justice issues,” he says.
And, as Brown points out, “more than ever, we see women having one another’s backs, and that’s a huge shift. Girls are watching and trying to make sense of it all. The important thing is that they see there are different perspectives and points of view and that the power is shifting. That’s freeing. ”
The Movement Against Sexist and Discriminatory School Dress Codes
Finucane-Terlop says he mentioned the incident to his school counselor right after it took place but didn’t end up getting a response from administrators. April Langston, Finucane-Terlop’s counselor, and David Brown, his principal at Strawberry Crest, however, do not recall talking about or hearing of such an incident.
Beyond this specific case, Emily Greytak, the research director at GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), says the organization has noticed that incidents like the one Finucane-Terlop described are becoming more frequent, when LGBT students are discriminated against either verbally, or via disciplinary action, for clothing choices that don’t fall in line with either a dress code or dress expectations that starkly demarcate different rules based on gender. According to a recent GLSEN study, 19 percent of LGBT students were prevented from wearing clothes that were thought to be from another gender and that number was even higher for transgender students, nearly 32 percent of whom have been prevented from wearing clothes that differed from those designated for their legal sex.
“This isn’t occasional; this isn’t just some students. This is something that happens quite regularly,” Greytak says. The discipline is sometimes informed by teachers’ personal biases while in other cases, school policies discriminate against transgender or gender non-conforming students expressions of their gender identity.
As Emery Vela, a sophomore, demonstrates, eventually some students manage to navigate and help reform the policies. Vela, a transgender student who attends a charter school in Denver, Colorado, dealt with this issue when looking for footwear to match his uniform in middle school, which had different requirements for boys and girls and suspended students if they broke the rule. Despite some initial pushback, the school adjusted the policy after he spoke with administrators.
“While they’re trying to achieve this goal of having a learning environment that supports learning, it’s really disadvantaging transgender and gender non-conforming students when they have to wear something that doesn’t match their identity,” Vela says.
* * *
Dress codes trace back to the 1920s and ‘30s, and conflicts over the rules have been around ever since, says Paoletti, the fashion historian: “Dress has been an issue in public schools as long as teenagers have been interested in fashion.” Several cases, including Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District in 1969, in which students alleged that wearing black armbands at school to protest the Vietnam War constituted free speech, have even gone all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The subjectivity inherent to many of these judgment calls—like the dress-code cases contending that boys with long hair would be society’s downfall—is often what ignites conflict. As with the kinds of protests staged by Sunseri and Huffman, many of the larger movements to resist school attire regulations today echo a broader momentum for women’s rights, pushing back against existing attitudes and practices. “We’ve seen a real resurgence in the popularity of feminism and feminist activism, particularly among young people and particularly in an international sense, facilitated by social media,” says Bates, who sees dress code protests as one key everyday impact of such trends. “I think that one of the striking elements of this new wave of activism is a sense of our entitlement and our courage to tackle the forms of sexism that are very subtle, that previously it was very difficult to stand up to, because you would be accused of overreacting, of making a fuss out of nothing.”
Enhancing inclusive learning through the provision of girls changing rooms and modern urinals
It usually starts by girls staying at home during the menstrual cycle and then slowly the time spent at home becomes extended for a mixture of intersecting reasons – financial constraints at home, distance from school and sometimes teenage pregnancy.
UNICEF – with support from the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) as part of the “Better Life for Girls” project – constructed urinals for the schools, which included dignified changing room for the girls. In all, 101 urinals with changing rooms have been constructed in 4 districts, reaching over 10,000 schoolgirls. The project was completed in 2020.
14-year-old Selina added: “Thanks to UNICEF and KOICA for supporting us to study. It’s no longer as difficult to come to school during those days. I wish more of these changing rooms would be made available in other spaces like community centers.”
Improving WASH facilities has created clearly noticeable and positive changes for girls. The headmaster of the Katiejeli Evangelical Presbyterian Junior High school, Mr. Anthony Kpebu said, “With the additional changing room, more girls feel confident since have a safe space where they can have a bath and change, anytime they need to. It helps girls to stay in school and participate actively during lessons.”
Perhaps, it is more gratifying that Peace returned to school after her teachers and aunt encouraged her to go back. With the addition of the new changing room, learning is much easier, and school is a safer place. “The new changing room is very comfortable, and I supervise some of the students to clean it clean regularly. We are grateful for this.”
Safe sanitation in school is key in achieving gender parity. Increased collaboration between education and sanitation sectors, ensuring gender sensitive WASH facilities and advocating for more durable WASH facilities in school can bring Ghana closer to achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Nashville teacher accused of secretly recording girls changing inside closet
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NASHVILLE, Tenn — A teacher was arrested for allegedly making more than 50 videos of girls changing clothes inside a closet at a Nashville elementary school.
Police arrested Jarrett Jones, 30, on Monday after hundreds of images of young girls and the videos were found on a hard drive at his Antioch home, according to WSMV.
According to an affidavit, Jones created more than 50 videos on a hard drive that were made inside a closet of the music room at Napier Elementary School. Jones was the music teacher at the school from 2011-2015 before becoming an assistant director of band at Antioch High School.
During an interview with police, Jones admitted to recording around 20 students while at Napier Elementary and having those videos on a hard drive at his home.
When police examined the hard drive, they found more than 50 videos in a folder titled “Napier.” Police said each video appeared to be titled the first name of the student in the video and appeared to have been taken in the closet at Napier Elementary. According to police, there appeared to be at least 40 different minor females in the videos.
Police also found more than 1,000 sexually explicit images of minors that appeared to have been downloaded from an external source unrelated to the school.
BREAKING: Nashville teacher Jarrett Jones charged today with secretly videoing elementary school girls as they changed clothes. pic.twitter.com/qHYRBFwTLK
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) September 19, 2016
Jones is charged with two counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor for making the videos and three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, over 100 items, for the images found.
The investigation began after Jones asked a colleague at Antioch High to help him with a computer problem. According to police, the colleague saw questionable items on the computer and notified authorities.
According to the affidavit, Jones had a recording device that looked like a thumb drive in the closet of the music room.
In the affidavit, Metro police describe the first video in the folder. Police said the elementary school-aged female entered the closet with Jones, who handed her a Napier choir shirt to try on. After Jones left, the girl removed her coat and school shirt, leaving on her training bra, and puts on the choir shirt and leaves the closet. The girl returned to the closet with Jones, who touched her shoulder where her training bra strap would be. He talked to the girl for a while and then left. The girl then took off the shirt and removed her training bra. The girl then put the choir shirt back on and left the closet. She later returned to change back into her school clothing.
After analyzing the videos, police identified the majority of the children were secretly recorded at Napier Elementary. They now attend several different schools.
Police said forensic interviews and clinical therapists arranged through the Nashville Children’s Alliance were at 12 schools on Monday and talked with several students.
The school system placed Jones on administrative leave earlier this month as the investigation began, according to the police department’s news release.
Jones is being held on a $100,000 bond. Police expect additional charges to be filed against him. His first court appearance is set for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
Metro police will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. with additional details on Jones’ arrest.
Metro Schools issued the following statement concerning the arrest:
An Antioch High School teacher who formerly served as a music teacher at Napier Elementary School was placed on administrative leave on September 9, 2016. This action took place as a result of an allegation the principal of Antioch High received about possible inappropriate conduct involving students at Napier. Because of today’s events, the building principal, and her executive leadership, will be recommending dismissal to Dr. Joseph. The teacher has had no contact with students since being placed on leave.
All employees are required to report concerns such as these to the proper authorities. The fellow teacher who discovered this situation acted exactly as is required by law and district policy.
We are devastated by the news of this investigation and are doing everything we can to help Metro Police and the District Attorney. We are also working with the District Attorney’s office as well as the Nashville Children’s Alliance to communicate with and counsel the affected families, and we expect it to be an ongoing process.
Obviously this is a very difficult and sensitive situation, and we will respect our students’ and families’ right to privacy as Police and the DA pursue this matter.
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School’s Request For Girl’s Second Outfit Change Has One Dad Fuming – ViralNova
School’s Request For Girl’s Second Outfit Change Has One Dad Fuming – ViralNova
Strict dress codes are nothing new, especially for teenage girls, but one school in Los Gatos, California, might actually change its policy after this dad spoke up for his 13-year-old daughter.
Around the beginning of the school year last month, Demetra Alarcon was pulled out of class for wearing a romper her teacher deemed too short. Tony, her dad, didn’t have a problem with bringing her a change of clothes — but he was completely fed up after being told that the new outfit was still inappropriate. Now he’s speaking out against Fisher Middle School’s dress code and how it unfairly targets girls.
About her first outfit, Demetra was told that it was too distracting to boys.
Screenshot / CBS San Francisco
School staff didn’t accept the second outfit either because the shorts didn’t have a four-inch inseam.
Screenshot / CBS San Francisco
“I mean, today it’s 90 degrees outside and she’s wearing leggings because she doesn’t want to be dress coded for wearing shorts,” he said. “We have to have dress codes that are fair and reasonable and that don’t cause them emotional issues; cause them to question their bodies or feel like they’re sex symbols at 13 years old.”
Screenshot / CBS San Francisco
Hear more about how this dad stuck up for his daughter below.
(via MommyPage and CBS San Francisco)
It sucks that Demetra was made to feel embarrassed about what she wore, but it’s great that her dad is so willing to fight for her.
Here’s hoping that the school decides to be more reasonable toward girls in its dress code.
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90,000 Schoolgirl forced to change clothes six times because of unsuitable skirt
The management of a British school sent home a 14-year-old schoolgirl Libby Taylor-Ford six times because of a skirt and trousers that were too short. The girl’s mother bought her several things for the school, but none of them suited the teachers.
14-year-old Wales Libby Taylor-Ford was forced to change six times because her dress did not match the school dress code. According to the Mirror, teachers sent the schoolgirl home because her skirt seemed too short to them.
According to the newspaper, the girl came to school in a skirt that was 7 centimeters above her knees. The length of the skirt provoked the outrage of one of the male teachers. He sent the schoolgirl to change, saying that he didn’t want to see what Libby was eating for breakfast as he climbed the stairs. However, other clothing options did not suit the teachers either.
The schoolgirl’s mother is outraged by the behavior of the teachers.According to the woman, her daughter cannot wear a longer skirt because of her physiological characteristics – longer clothes fall off her because of her thinness. The British woman bought three different skirts for her daughter for going to school, but none of them turned out to be suitable from the teachers’ point of view.
The last decision was the purchase of trousers for the schoolgirl, but they did not suit the teachers. The reason for sending the girl home again was the insufficient length of the trousers: they did not completely cover her ankles. Outraged by the harsh school rules, the teen’s mother urged teachers to focus on providing quality educational services and pay less attention to the appearance of schoolchildren.
The management of the educational institution, commenting on this situation, noted that the girl’s parents did not submit formal complaints.
Earlier in September, a 14-year-old student at a British school in Portchester was suspended from classes due to being too large. The schoolgirl could not wear a standard uniform, since the manufacturers did not sew skirts in her size.
90,000 Canadian schoolgirl sent home to change over “obscene” outfit
The 73rd school district’s dress code policy was questioned after a 12th grade student was sent home for wearing an outfit that included a dress lace trimmed over a long sleeve turtleneck.
NorKam High School student Karis Wilson said that on Tuesday morning the teacher sent her to the principal because of her clothes.
Karis said her English teacher told her that her outfit was embarrassing for her and the male teacher. She was sent to the principal’s office and then asked to go home, change and return, or decide to stay at home all day.
“I came back and packed my things, almost in tears, and my friends kept asking me what happened,” Karis said.
Karis said she was in class for 20 minutes before the teacher raised the issue.
The district dress code identifies a number of items of clothing that students may not wear, including clothing that promotes drug or alcohol use, that depicts vulgar or sexual expressions or images that discriminates against protected groups, that promote violence or violent groups, or clothing that is “worn in a way that distracts attention from the teaching / learning process.”
Karis said she was not told how her outfit was a distraction from the learning process, but she was told that the lace on her clothes makes her look like a slip dress.
“I didn’t even know what the combination was and that it was a type of underwear and that my dress reminded her of it to her,” Karis said.
“But it’s not my fault that I remind you of something sexy. You shouldn’t think that way about me.”
Karis said she first wore this dress for a photo shoot with her horses last summer.
Karis’s father, Chris Wilson, digital sales manager at KTW, said he felt the policy gave teachers too much leeway.
“It just gives them carte blanche, I think, and you are faced with a situation where you have an old school teacher who is offended by any clothes,” he said.
Wilson said that his daughter usually wears sweatpants and a hoodie and does not overstep the boundaries of what is acceptable in school.
“Ultimately there should be clear directions, just like at work,” he said.
On the subject: Primary and secondary education in Canada (School in Canada)
The schoolgirl sued her stepfather for filming her without consent
A ninth-grader from Yekaterinburg filed a lawsuit against her stepfather after his divorce from her mother. As a result, the teenager sued 150 thousand for a camera in his room.
“For three years in a row, from the age of 13, to change, I hid in a large sliding wardrobe or went to the bathroom.I could not change clothes in my own room – my stepfather had installed a video camera there. There were cameras everywhere in our apartment, they worked day and night, around the clock, ”says the victim.
Lika (name has been changed) recently turned 16, and she won a lawsuit with her mother in the Verkh-Isetsky district court against her former stepfather, writes E1.
Now a man must compensate for moral damage for insult and interference with privacy.
Lika is also a plaintiff in a criminal case against her stepfather Viktor under the article “Driving to an attempted suicide.”The girl tried to commit suicide because of the pressure exerted on her by Victor.
Lika’s mother Victoria began dating Viktor 14 years ago, he worked as an engineer at one of the Yekaterinburg enterprises. Victoria is a manager at a large company in the city.
Conflicts began with the birth of a younger sister, who always complained about her older sister and sought protection from her father. According to Leakey, because of any trifle, she made a tantrum. Victor yelled at Lika.
“In expressions, he did not stand on ceremony, he could swear, he called him a creature, cattle.I answered as best I could. Somehow I couldn’t stand it in a quarrel, I shouted: “So you die,” ”the victim shares.
She says that her stepfather even threatened to kill her quiet and peaceful cat.
Then Victor installed video cameras in the apartment. At first, he explained this by the fact that he wanted to look after the nannies who came to his youngest daughter.
On the first day, when she came home from school and saw the camera turned on, Lika pulled it out of the socket. But the stepfather connected the wire directly to the network. Only Victor had access to the cameras. Once, during a quarrel, the stepfather yelled at Lika, “Go throw off the balcony.”
“I went. I opened the balcony. My grandmother grabbed me and threw me on the sofa, ”recalls Lika. An elderly woman had an attack of hypertension at night. They called an ambulance.
Victoria filed for divorce from Victor when her husband on March 8 decided to go to the sauna with his youngest daughter. The woman was against the child to go. The squabble turned into a scuffle.
“I began to separate. He switched to me, pulled me by the hair into the room.After that, my mother decided – that’s enough, ”Lika said.
Suicide trial continues. Also, the couple divides property and real estate in court. Independent lawyers told E1 that they are skeptical about the girl’s claims. They believe that things are started, since the couple after the divorce cannot share a good apartment in a new building.
90,000 undressed girl disgraced throughout the city
Yaroslavna fights for a fair punishment for her child’s offenders
A real scandal broke out in one of the schools in Yaroslavl. A photo of one of the schoolgirls in underwear got on social networks – in the pictures, a girl changes clothes before a physical education lesson. As it turned out, a classmate photographed the child secretly and posted it on the Web. Only a few days later, the schoolgirl found out that she had become a “star”. How it happened, told the mother of the girl Alexandra (name has been changed).
– Other children began to approach my daughter and say: “they saw your photos in underwear”, – restraining emotions, Yaroslavna told reporters “Pro City Yaroslavl”, – then we began to restore the chain of events and think who could take a picture of her daughter and publish photos …Classmates also helped – they told me that this was one girl from the class. She did not even deny, she admitted everything at once, but she does not feel guilty at all. It is scary to imagine what she will start to create in the future. Now – a photo in the dressing room, then – will install the phone in the toilet.
The girl’s mother turned to the school principal, in response she received a promise to arrange a meeting with the parents of the scandalous classmate.
“A month has passed, but a meeting at school has not been arranged for us,” Alexandra explained, “I want this girl to no longer study in the same class with my child.This behavior is unacceptable at school!
While the story was hushed up at school, there is no more talk about any meeting. Also, the mother, who was ready to protect her child, turned to law enforcement agencies.
– I realized that our story is not taken seriously, but a minor child was photographed in his underwear, the pictures were published, this is serious! – Explains mom to journalists “Pro City Yaroslavl”. – Of course, to understand us, this must happen to everyone.Otherwise, people do not understand what it is! Psychological trauma in a child!
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See also: Jumping out under the wheels: Yaroslavna told about a dangerous playground.
90,000 inclined to philosophical reasoning. ”Schoolgirl was sent to a mental hospital for reading a public about Columbine
In the early morning of August 24, officers of the regional FSB department came to the house where 14-year-old Krasnoyarsk schoolgirl Alena Prokudina lives with her parents.They turned everything upside down, confiscated the laptop, personal belongings of Alena, her older sister and mother, after which they took the girl to a neuropsychiatric dispensary “for examination.” Alena spent 16 days there and was released only after attracting lawyers and human rights activists and after her story got into the media.
The siloviki explained their actions by the fact that six months ago Alena had been subscribed to the Columbine public, banned in Russia, on the VKontakte social network. It was dedicated to the shooting on April 20, 1999 at the American Columbine School in Littleton, where two high school students killed 12 students and one teacher, wounded 23 more people, and then shot themselves.
Now Alena is at home, but her family still cannot live peacefully. The girl is regularly checked by the commission on juvenile affairs, and Alena’s parents are accused of poor child upbringing.
Alena and her mother Olga told the project Siberia. The realities of the conditions in which a 14-year-old teenager was kept in a psychiatric hospital in Krasnoyarsk: in a mixed ward, where both boys and girls lay together, with permission to wash once a week.
– Alena, how did you feel that morning when they came for you?
– It seemed to me and still seems to me that I am observing all this a little from the side.As if this is not happening to me.
– Olga, did you immediately understand what kind of Alena is this?
– They uttered the words: “Search at Alena Prokudina.” Why, for what, we, of course, did not understand. I kept repeating: “You are probably doing something wrong.” And the FSB officers were rude in response. They said to their daughter: “Does your mother ever shut up?”
– I was asked if I want to talk to a psychologist, – says Alena. – They promised that it would not be long. I replied: “Well, yes, you can.” And my mother was told that they would take me to talk with a psychologist.It turns out that we were simply lured out of the house.
– How did you manage, what helped you?
– Probably, I was saved by the maximum misunderstanding of what was happening. The first time I burst into tears was only when they in the hospital (FSB officers) began to swear among themselves, whether to leave me or not. When we arrived, they asked my mother about the policy. She was surprised: “What policy? We’re not going to go to bed.”
At first I thought: what’s so bad about three days of examination, why is my mother so protesting? Then the FSB officer Artyom drove up, he did not participate in the search.He began to persuade my mother, but she still did not agree, because in those days I just had to pass exams to go to the 9th grade. Then he came up to me and said that if I stayed, I would not have to take exams and they would take me just like that, as if he would come to an agreement [with the school administration]. I agreed.
Olga adds that an FSB officer named Artem promised to solve all Prokudina’s problems with her studies and said that there is nothing wrong with a routine examination, which will take three days.After these words, Olga signed a consent to hospitalization.
– Olga, when did you realize that you made a mistake?
– As soon as I got away from the first shock and talked to a lawyer. On August 27, I wrote a refusal to hospitalize and took him to the hospital, to the Ministry of Health of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and to the office of the Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. And on the 28th, the hospital filed a lawsuit to hospitalize Alena without her consent and the consent of her representatives.On September 1, a court was held, which made a decision on involuntary hospitalization. It turns out that for 24 hours, from August 29 to August 31, Alena was kept in the hospital simply illegally.
Alena and Olga Prokudin
– Alena, how were you treated in the hospital?
– I lived in a room with nine guys and four girls. To change, you had to turn to the window or go to the toilet. And the toilet didn’t even have handles: instead of them there were holes. The orderlies inserted handles from window frames into them and opened them like that.You could wash yourself only once a week, and wash your hair too.
Olga clarifies that after the court hearing, at which the decision was made on the forced hospitalization of her daughter, she drew attention to Alena’s dirty hair. The hospital employee who accompanied the girl then replied that patients wash every evening.
“I didn’t hear this conversation,” Alena says. “But that evening they took me to wash. I was still surprised: why all of a sudden? There were two ordinary bathtubs in the washing room. It was possible to wash only all together, in the presence of each other. I asked if I could wait for the girls to wash themselves, then go in separately. I was told that no: either you wash with everyone, or in no way at all.
But the most difficult for me was the sleep mode. According to the hospital rules, we were supposed to sleep 13 hours! Some orderlies forbade reading books during sleep-hours. One could only lie and stare at the ceiling. It’s excruciating.
Water could only be drunk from the palms – it was not allowed to put it into any dish.You put your palms under the tap, type and drink like an animal. You can’t tilt your head to the tap either. The orderlies forbade: they say, now you slobber the tap – others will not be able to drink.
It was forbidden to sleep in pajama pants, only in shorts. I didn’t have shorts for 10 days, I had to sleep in panties. The orderlies threatened the children: “If you make noise, you will be left without lunch” or “You will not go to wash on a bath day. ” It seems to me that people should not be intimidated like that. After all, these are elementary things that every person should have!
The first 10 days they didn’t let me go for a walk at all.Children with schizophrenia, children prone to escape, were released, but I was not. When I left, everyone noted that I was very pale. I was allowed to walk only when our lawyer complained.
The only thing that was more or less normal was the food: the food was normal. Fruits, sweets were given to me by my parents. But you could eat the parcels only 15 minutes a day. We went to the dining room, where there were refrigerators and parcels were stored, ate for 15 minutes, then put everything in the refrigerator and returned back to the ward.
After the media told about my conditions of detention, I and the other girls were moved to a better ward – without boys, there were pink walls and new bedspreads.
– When did you realize that it won’t end in three days?
– I had a trial on September 1 . ..
– Did you know that it will take place, were you warned?
– No, I didn’t know anything. The court session took place in a mental hospital, in an ordinary office. Mom and a lawyer arrived.The hospital representatives said that I should be left here because I am inclined to philosophical reasoning.
Submitted photographs of a schoolboy pointing a toy gun at a blackboard. They said that I did it, although I even have boards of a different color in my school. And people – it is clear that they are different.
Another photo was already mine. At a friend’s dacha, I photographed two toy machines. And in all seriousness, adult uncles asked me where these machines came from.Although it can be seen that they are plastic. And there were several photos. Some are clear, where it is clearly visible that it is a toy, and one smeared, where it is not very clear what it is at all. But they added a smeared to the case.
For some reason, the court sided with the hospital. I remember saying the following words: “Conduct disorder, group offense in a” gang member “situation, stealing in a company, truancy from school.” And they nodded at the window, they say, all this is proved by the group that had gathered below and which I allegedly brought.Meanwhile, my friends came to the hospital to support me.
At the end, the judge said that I was being admitted to the hospital for examination indefinitely. After that, I could not stand it, I burst into tears right there. I thought that I would now go home with my mother, that I would see my relatives and friends. It was so hard. All the sleep-hour I also cried.
– What happened next?
– I did not receive any treatment, the examination was also not carried out. Once a psychologist came to me and asked me to draw a picture of an animal that does not exist.I drew, described it. And that’s all. The staff continued to scare me that I was here for a long time. Once I asked the nurse where my wet wipes, which were in the briefcase, were. She replied that I somehow misbehave, although I have to be here for a long time …
Only a day before I was released, my mother called me and said that we would meet soon. The next day, mom and dad arrived, a lawyer, and they took me away.
– Alena, after a while, do you understand why you were taken to the hospital? FSB officers said that you were subscribed on the networks to a community banned in Russia.
– No, I still don’t get it. Everyone writes about some groups on social networks, but I never subscribed to them, did not read, did not open and did not even know that they existed. The only thing I did was discuss a video on the topic of bullying at school in VKontakte correspondence with my best friend. I study at the Tvori-Gora film school and shot this video to draw attention to the problem, as it exists. Later we discussed it in correspondence in a comic form, but it was definitely a question of the fact that it is bad and it should not be so.
Surprisingly, that video (01:23 in length) that appeared on the Web while I was being held in the dispensary had more frames than my original one (00:49 in duration). Some shots, such as where I walk up to the closet and sit on a chair, were not included in the final version. How did they get into the video that I didn’t do? One can only guess. During the search, my phone was seized. But how can we prove all this now ?!
– Did the friend you corresponded with also suffer?
– No.But she is very worried about me and supports me.
– How did your friends meet you after you were discharged?
– The parents of one of my friends forbade her to communicate with me. Another girl from the camp said something not very pleasant in the conversation. But the majority supported. Especially my friends from “Tvori-Gory”. It was they who came to the court and stood under the windows of the hospital. And now they are trying to quickly involve me in a normal life.
– Olga, what charges are you brought against by the juvenile commission? What does the phrase “violation of the right to secondary education” mean?
– Alena is taking her 9th grade exams now, not in the spring.We have such a situation due to the fact that Alena has been homeschooled since winter. First of all, it was Alena’s decision, and we supported him. In the spring, when exams were due, schools were quarantined. We called and asked what to do. We were told to hand over in August. And in August, the day before the exams, they came for Alena.
– How do you deal with this situation at home?
– It’s hard and scary for us. I no longer know what to warn her against. It plowed me even more than Alena.I had some kind of moral breakdown, I was simply trampled as a citizen, as a patriot. I was brought up in Soviet times, I love my country very much, I am a patriot. And now this is my correct upbringing is now completely broken. How can you live and be afraid that they might come to you at any moment ?!
I will never forget how I was deceived in the hospital. They said that everything will be fine, we will let your girl go, she passed the test, everything is fine with her. Well, yes, there is adolescent categoricality, but who does not.They assured that they did not cooperate with the FSB. Then they suddenly began to scare that if they didn’t put her in a hospital, she could end up in a pre-trial detention center. And the hospital is safer. They looked at me with such pure, kind eyes. It seemed to me that these are good honest people, what kind of my child they are. I believed, I left, and soon they called me and said that the hospital had filed a lawsuit for involuntary hospitalization.
– Alena, has your life changed somehow? Do you feel mistrust of people now?
– It depends on which one.I never thought that adults could lie so blatantly. The head doctor of the hospital Gershenovich said in the media that he examined me personally. And on the basis of this inspection, I decided that I need to be left here! And he never examined me. Only once, when a lawyer came to see me, Gershenovich came up to us and talked – the only time!
We lost the Court of Appeal, the appeal was considered for almost an hour, the decision of the first court was upheld. But we will continue to appeal to the courts.I am for justice so that this does not happen again. At first, when I just left the hospital, I thought that it was necessary to somehow change this so that this would not happen in our country. But now it seems to me that everything is useless and I will not change anything. I think that I will finish school and go to study in another country.
In the hospital where Alena was undergoing “examination”, the correspondent of Siberia.Realii was informed that all questions should be sent to the press service of the regional Ministry of Health.The press service said that the circumstances of Alena Prokudina’s hospitalization are a medical secret that cannot be disclosed to “third parties.”
Read the full text of the interview on the website Siberia.Realities
90,000 A schoolgirl from the Zaporozhye region changed into a military uniform and refused a smartphone – Industrialka
The girl entered a boarding school with enhanced physical military training
In the first days of the new school year, children return to school.Getting up early, lessons, breaks, homework are the usual life of ordinary schoolchildren. And for a 15-year-old resident of the village of Konskie Razdory, the new school year began under a new – army – regime. The fact is that after finishing the 9th grade, Dasha Prokhvalo entered the boarding school with enhanced physical military training “Cadet Corps” in Kharkov. In this educational institution, children live and study, but their regime is like in the army – wake up at 6.00, drill, orders, lights out, etc. Why the girl chose such an unusual educational institution for herself and how her studies are going on, Dasha’s mother Anna Prokhvatilo said.
-Darya has already chosen a profession that she wants to get in the future, and studying at this gymnasium will be an excellent foundation for further admission, – said Anna. – She is a very calm, wise and reasonable girl. Dasha has been involved in sports all-around since the age of 9. She took part in sports competitions, won prizes, became a champion in her weight and age categories in hand-to-hand fighting. Dasha always studied well.
Daria made the decision to enter the “Cadet Corps” herself.Mom did not immediately support her. But my father liked this idea and he helped his daughter in every possible way.
Before joining, Dasha underwent a medical examination, and then, having collected the necessary package of documents, went to Kharkov with her dad.
-The selection lasted for a week, – Anna Prokhvatilo recalls. – First, Dasha passed the psychological selection. Then I passed physical education. It was a distance of 1000 and 60 meters, as well as push-ups from the floor. Dasha did 35 push-ups. Then they took an exam in mathematics and wrote a dictation in the Ukrainian language.The final decision on admission to the lyceum was made by the credentials committee. Initially, 69 girls tried to enter the lyceum, but only 23 were selected.
Dasha left for Kharkov on August 24. Before the start of the school year, the students of the Lyceum had to learn the charter of the gymnasium, the rules and the statute, as well as learn a little about how to march. Studies began on September 1.
Dasha got into the 6th company of the 62nd platoon. Another girl from the Zaporozhye region is studying with her. Lyceum students live in barracks, they go to lessons in another building of the educational institution, where classes are located.There they have lessons and self-study, during which they do their homework. You cannot do your homework in the barracks. The girls have other jobs there – drill, trainings, outfits, cleaning. Even for personal hygiene and talking on a mobile phone, a separate time is allocated.
– In the Lyceum, only push-button telephones are allowed, so her smartphone stayed at home, says Anna Prokhvatilo. – Phones are issued on schedule. I wait every evening for her call on time. In addition, only a limited number of things could be taken to the lyceum.All things should fit into a tactical backpack. Girls cannot use cosmetics. You cannot bring sweets to the barracks. There are many prohibitions and restrictions.
In addition, 15-year-old Dasha had to give up her usual clothes. The lyceum has a special uniform. Everyday – a military uniform and ankle boots, ceremonial – a skirt, blouse, tunic and shoes. The female cadets also have the same sports uniform and only in black. They wear the same hairstyle – two spikelet braids. For girls, even hair ties and tights are the same and in limited quantities.
“Dasha does not regret her choice,” said Anna Prokhvatilo. – She confessed to me that it was difficult for her, but at the same time very interesting. They already had one girl who could not stand it and after three days of training returned home.
On October 14, lyceum students will take the oath of cadets in a solemn atmosphere. This is the same as the military oath of the soldiers. After this significant day, the students will go home and they will have a week of vacation.
See also: How many children in Zaporozhye went to the first grades.
Photo courtesy of Anna Grabbed
90,000 Skirts are prohibited. Schoolgirls in England and their parents were outraged by gender neutral uniforms
Photo author, Eddie Mitchell
School students and their parents protested against the new rules on school uniforms
About 150 students and their parents came out to protest the introduction of a gender neutral form at a high school in Lewis in East Sussex, England.
Since the new school year, the school has made the wearing of trousers compulsory for all students – both boys and girls.
The school administration says it was prompted to take this step by concerns about the length of the girls’ skirts; in addition, the new rules are more responsive to the needs of the few transgender students at the school.
Those dissatisfied with the new rules believe that students should have the right to choose, and indicate that the already purchased form will now go to waste.
Photo by Eddie Mitchell
All students were told that in order to fulfill the new requirements, they must come to class only in trousers.
Former student of the school, TV presenter Piers Morgan expressed solidarity with the protesters on Twitter. According to him, the “gender-neutral madness” is out of control, and girls should be girls and boys should be boys.
Lewis MP, Conservative Maria Caulfield tweeted: “Very concerned that the school does not allow girls to attend classes for wanting to wear skirts and threatens them with the police.Lewis’ young women should not be treated that way. “
A senior high school student Libby Murray notes that new rules will have to throw away clothes she has already bought, which she says will contribute to worsening the climate crisis.
Take away from it is unfair for pupils to choose because some girls wore skirts that were too short, she adds.“If they want gender neutrality, then everyone should be allowed to choose what to wear – pants or skirts.”
The school has imposed a ban on skirts for new female students entering the school, and since this Friday the ban has been extended to all.
Those who do not follow the rules will be sent home to change and only then allowed into the school building.
Student Nina Cullen came to school in a skirt, but she was not allowed on the doorstep. “I didn’t buy a new uniform and I don’t see any reason to spend money on it,” she says.
Previously, during particularly hot weather, the school made indulgences and allowed students to wear shorts and skirt-shorts.