The mom later sent a note to the principal saying, 'To reward you for treating my daughter with such concern, I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping.'
Catherine Pearlman, a licensed social worker and author, was unpleasantly surprised when her 13-year-old daughter was dress-coded twice in one week because her fingertips hit below her shorts. Explaining the situation on Instagram she shared, "My girl was dress coded two days in a row. It's impossible to find shorts that are remotely fashionable and below her finger tips. She's tall with long arms and fingers. One more code and she will have detention. And making the policy even more frustrating is that there isn't a dress code for high school."
View this post on Instagram
What's worse, she said, was that the principal seemed to send the young teen the message that she was “a distraction” to boys. The frustrated mom protected her daughter and many others who may have to face similar circumstances by writing a scathing letter to the principal. She posted it on her website TheFamilyCoach and on the community TODAY show website back in 2017 and it went viral. “Dear Middle School Principal: Thank you for sending a note home for the second day in a row to say my daughter was dressed inappropriately for school,” she began. “I’d like to offer an additional thank you for forcing her to change into large mesh shorts that have been worn by only god knows who and potentially never washed... To reward you for treating my daughter with such concern, I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping.”
View this post on Instagram
The mom shared important metrics to keep in mind should he accept the offer. “Here are the specifications you have to work with. I wish you loads of luck. She is 5’7″ and 13 years old. Built more like her father, she has exceptionally long legs and arms,” she wrote. “She doesn’t like anything pink or purple or frilly. No item of clothing can have a logo visible because to her that’s not cool. She will, however, wear any type of superhero, Green Day or USFL T-shirt if you can find them.”
Towards the end of the letter, she called out the administration's sexist dress code by writing: “I forgot to thank you for making it clear to my daughter that her body is somehow a distraction, either to herself or to the boys. I thought she might have missed the message earlier in the year when the gym teacher told her she couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys aren’t able to control themselves. I appreciate how hard you are working to drive the point home.”
Dress codes are always about the girls. AmIRight?— Keeko 🦋McKween ⁷ ⚖️🧚♂️👼🏼 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜 (@LeftBrainMom1) November 20, 2019
Incredibly the mom proved that having your voice heard can make a difference. The school finally changed its policy two years after her initial complaint. "After this incident, I posted a letter to the principal asking her to take my daughter shopping because I was sick of the dress code and because it was impossible to find clothes. Anyway as you may have seen the letter went viral. Since then our district (50k students) changed the code and it's no longer acceptable to say girls are a distraction. The code is also more flexible in what can be worn," Pearlman revealed in an update shared with the original Instagram post.
One user commended the mom's efforts writing, "Incredible how the strength of one parent, standing up for something and defending their child, actually made a difference, that’s rare."