Success! Care2 Petition Persuades Massachusetts High School to Change Its Sexist Dress Code

When Emily Midwood’s sister arrived at their high school in Ludlow, Massachusetts, wearing an “off the shoulder” romper, she was immediately told to go home and change into something more appropriate.

Given that the outfit only exposed her shoulders, how could this possibly have presented a problem?

Midwood was infuriated, so she created a Care2 petition demanding that the school reform its dress code immediately.

She explains the incident’s impact on her sister:

She had to call our mother to have her drive her home, change, then get driven back. She was marked late. She missed class time because her shoulders were visible. Girls everywhere deserve more respect than that. Our education is more important than our shoulders showing.

Midwood’s petition has garnered over 13,000 signatures from Care2 members disturbed by this sexist dress code.

Care2 Success!

It took about a month of going back and forth with student and administrative leaders — but on May 24, Midwood sat down with the high school’s principal and student council to work out the details of a new dress code.

Here’s how this student activist proclaimed victory:

I am proud to announce that Ludlow High School has changed its dress code! I couldn’t have gotten this victory as quickly and smoothly as I did without the help and support of everyone who signed the petition and backed me through the entire journey. This wasn’t a one-person job and I’m thankful from the bottom of my heart that everyone came together to kick start a generation of activism in my small town, much more, in the country.

Awesome! Congratulations to Emily Midwood, all the Care2 members who signed her petition — and, of course, the student activists who supported her.

This amazing young woman told Care2: 

I decided to create a Care2 petition because I was so upset with what happened to my sister. I wanted to make something happen as quick as possible. A petition not only spreads the word to people locally and worldwide, but it also generates a conversation. I was determined to get people talking to have enough support to take it to administration with a full argument.

Almost the entire student body supported her, along with the student council. And after several local news outlets interviewed Midwood, strangers repeatedly approached her in the street to offer their encouragement.

The new, revised dress code allows shorts that are shorter than extended fingertip length, as well as exposed shoulders. It also eliminates muscle tanks that are ripped all the way down to the waistband and sagging pants.

The Case for a Gender-Neutral Dress Code

Midwood is most proud that the new dress code’s wording is entirely gender-neutral and does not target any group of people.

School dress codes are often written in language that punishes girls for “distracting” boys because of what they are wearing. Just like in this Care2 petition, the boys frequently receive no punishment.

This young activist is justifiably proud of her accomplishment, adding, “I couldn’t have done it without so much support and you all at Care2 have made this process so smooth and simple.”

Midwood goes on, ”I am so happy that I had an opportunity to use my voice for the students who felt powerless. I couldn’t be happier with the results and I’m so excited to see what other political and activist endeavors I initiate in the near future.”

We’ll be watching out for her!

Take Action!

If you’re inspired by this amazing young woman’s determination and success, why not follow her example and create your own petition about an issue that concerns you? Follow these guidelines and make your voice heard today!

 

108 comments

Peggy B
Peggy B5 days ago

I would not let my daughter wear that to school. To a school dance/function, maybe, but personally I would find it inappropriate for school and be saddened if she didn't understand why.

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Karen H
Karen H8 days ago

Two stand-out articles today. This one about "cover up because you distract the boys" and the one about European countries banning the burqa and telling women "you must not be covered up." Make up your minds!

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill11 days ago

thanks

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Amanda M
Amanda M11 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M11 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Lisa M
Lisa M11 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M11 days ago

Thanks.

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Julie W
Julie W11 days ago

Beautifully put Dot! A shame your post wasn't finished.

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Dot A
Dot A11 days ago

Change is absolutely inevitable. What we appreciated in the past as dress codes to take attention away from students going through puberty, is now an arena for competition and popularity. If you have a pretty body, and cash to adorn oneself, then the times seem to ok the privilege to show oneself off. In the alternative, if your body is not the ideal, if your ability to buy those desirable clothing items is not there, then these students suffer the judgments of superficial thinking. We were once a nation that sought to equalize our people. We did not succeed, of course, but the goal was there. Now, we are a nation of attention seekers, and pretty much anything goes as long as it works for you. Now we are ok with 'whatever' and 'it's not my problem' when our need to get ahead of others creates an environment of status seeking individuals. Our goals with the uniforms were to look deeper into the eyes of one another and see their character, rather than young female shoulders walking around classrooms that once stressed scholastic achievements rather than titillation. And we wonder why US

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Leo C
Leo Custer11 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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