I graduated from Glenbard East in Lombard, Illinois in 2001. This is the place that I spent four years of my life a few lifetimes ago. I was an enthusiastic, involved athlete and student during my time there. I was a cheerleader for two and a half seasons, a student leader, member of the choir, president of an organization, and active member of several other groups.
But now, my alma mater has made national news. They’re trending for publicly shaming young women for wearing tank tops to school in the hot humidity of the midwest in a school whose relationship with air conditioning has typically been spotty at best.
Like the female students humiliated last week, I was also shamed for what I wore nearly 20 years ago. But I was not given a scarlet letter to wear. I was forced to don a school sweatshirt from my locker in 90-degree heat, because “girls with women’s bodies” can’t wear things like sleeveless tops and overalls — these were things my school friends wore with no issue.
The dress code violation is that of showing someone’s back and shoulders…
It’s hard for me to stomach that things have not only not improved at this school, THEY’VE GOTTEN WORSE. I was appalled to hear about the first day of school ambush from the mostly male administration and that the two females on the administration — according to the Glenbard East staff website — joined in the enforcement of this antiquated dress code.
In the last few days, I have cried thinking about the young women who were told that their carefully chosen first-day-of-school outfits were inappropriate because they would distract their male peers from learning. As if forcing girls to wear construction orange tee-shirts complete with the dress-code violation branding (Dean Rental) would eliminate distraction from the classroom.
Way to go Glenbard East. I am ashamed to be an alumnus of any institution that would be so cruel to embarrass and publicly shame young women when navigating high school is hard enough. Adults, and especially educators, have a responsibility to inspire and guide young people. They should provide a safe haven from all of the other things that teenagers have to endure. You have so much power, but with great power comes great responsibility. Now, what are you going to do to remedy the situation?