A high school principal from Texas who’s been the focus of criticism for creating controversial dressing rules for parents has refused to take back her decision of formulating dress code for the grownups.
Carlotta Outley Brown, the principal at James Madison High School, Texas, made it to the news earlier this April when a parent made a public complaint about how she was not allowed to enter the campus premises because she was dressed in a t-shirt and had a headscarf.
After the complaint, Brown formally introduced a dress code for the guardians of her students, banning accessories like shower caps, hair rollers and hair bonnets.
The ‘legislation’ also prohibited clothing like leggings, low-cut-tops, daisy dukes, and excessively torn jeans. People criticized the dress code, saying that it was insulting and classist.
‘I felt the need to enact the dress code because it was an educational environment, a place of learning,’ Brown spoke to Inside Edition in an interview on Friday.
‘When anyone walks in, we have impressionable children and we have to model what we want them to know and learn.’
Brown further told that the lady who raised the complaint was barred from entering the school because she was in her ‘nightshirt’ and it was clear ‘that she did not have anything on under her garment.’
Before the case of this woman, according to Brown, a number of parents were coming to the school in objectionable clothing.
One mom, Brown told, ‘came in with a see-through shirt and you could clearly see her breasts and her nipples.’ And, another lady had her thong underwear clearly visible above her pants.
Brown established the parental attire rules, disseminated to school parents in a letter, ought to be observed because ‘parents are their children’s first teacher’ and that formulating a set of rules would ‘ensure that they know how to conduct themselves.’
She continued that these regulations were not aimed to ‘prohibit them from their expression’ and they are applicable only to persons trying to enter the campus premises.
Parents are not bound to follow these regulations while in the parking area or in the drop lane when they’re dropping their children off.
One of the most outspoken critics of the dress code rules made by Brown was Zeph Capo, the head of the Houston Federation of Teachers.
‘Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do? Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial,’ Capo told the Houston Chronicle, adding that Brown’s bans regarding school moms’ hair were ‘classist,’ ‘belittling,’ and ‘dismissive.’
Talking to Inside Edition, Brown said they had no objection on the headscarf of the complaining mom and hair bonnets are not wrong in themselves but they shouldn’t be donned at a certain time and place.
She further added that the type of attire which is unsuitable for a church assembly or for a night at the town is also not good to be adopted at the campus.
‘This is a professional place, where learning is taking place,’ Brown said. ‘A hair bonnet is permissible in the home, with your family. It’s not permissible in the school setting.’
Brown added that it is the duty of adults to show children ‘what is right, what is correct, and what they need to do when they go different places. For example, you don’t wear a swimsuit to school, you wear it to the beach.’
Brown was sworn in as the principal of James Madison High School at the start of this school year as the fourth principal of the institution in five years.
Before assuming this office, she served as the principal at an elementary school in Houston which received one of the top academic honors in the nation.
During an event at the time, Brown spoke to a US Department of Education Press release showing her concern about parents coming to the school in ‘inappropriately informal dress.’
She also told the parents that ‘they may not appear at school so dressed and firmly turned them away, as she did any parents using inappropriate language on school grounds.’