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!

 

118 comments

Marie W
Marie W8 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Emily J
Emily Jabout a month ago

Lindi S. your dad sounds like a hero. I hate teachers who act like petty little dictators and bully their students, good for him for standing up to this child abuser!

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Lindi S
Lindi Smithabout a month ago

Awaaaay back in the sixties, 1968 I think it was, I wore my brother's blue jeans to school. I was assaulted by the principal that day for doing so. He made me stand in front of him with my little guitar-playing hands held out, palms up. I was 10 years old. He then wound up and smashed my right hand with a thick leather strap. I thought my hand had been torn off! Then, he wound up to strike my left hand. I moved my hand out of the way. He ended up striking his own leg and while he was howling in pain doing this one-legged hop... I ran. I ran straight home to where my father was about to go to his job at the radio station. When he saw the blood blistering in my right hand, when he heard what happened, well, he just lost it.
He took me back to school where we entered the principal's office. Dad grabbed him by the shirt and dragged him clean across the top of his desk ... and my father thrashed the man. He cleaned the floor with the man. He informed him that if he ever touched another of his children, or ANYONE'S child, that he would be back wearing Hell's bells. Mr. Cecil Young never laid his eyes nor his hands upon me again. The dress code was changed forthwith. And that strap? It left with my father.

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Emily J
Emily Jabout a month ago

Good news it's time to stop sexualising girl's and women's bodies, which leads to sexual violence and victim-blaming. If the school is going to have a dress code, they should do it properly and make it apply to everyone, instead of singling out teenage girls. Maybe smart workwear which is actually helpful to boys and girls alike (if less comfortable) as it would prepare them to dress professionally for job interviews etc. after they graduate.

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

I didn't sign this petition in case that outfit was an example of what they wanted to wear. If the conclusion that boys nor girls could show shoulders then it's okay. The outfit in the photo is NOT a top, but a one piece romper. This photo doesn't show that it is short shorts. I was appalled thinking it was a top, but wow. Who would let their teenager go to school in an outfit that I would hesitate to take my toddler out in.

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Peggy Peters
Peggy Petersabout a month ago

Great. Now, why don't you use your powers of persuasion for something less petty and much more useful?

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shana l
shana labout a month ago

Uh, this is not a party. It is school. Keep your shoulders covered and behave.

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Greta L
Greta L5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Greta L
Greta L5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Angela J
Angela J5 months ago

Thanks

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