Black Girls Most Harshly Disciplined Over School Dress Codes, Study Finds

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We all know that black girls are disciplined more harshly for the same infractions as their white peers in schools (and life), but a new study shows that part of this disparity is linked to school-uniform policies.


The National Women’s Law Center recently looked at school dress codes in Washington, D.C., and found that black girls are unnecessarily and predominantly penalized under uniform rules.

In fact, because humans in their unconscious and implicit biases are the ones who enforce rules around dress codes, it goes without saying that sexism, racism and traditional gender roles play a part.

According to the study, black girls were found to often be in violation of dress codes for so-called infractions like being “unladylike,” “inappropriate” or “distracting to the boys around them.”

Also, it should be noted that African-American girls’ bodies are often different from their Caucasian peers, and so a short skirt on a girl with curves is seen differently from one on a smaller girl.

The point being, it’s the same damn skirt.

Most jarringly, the report found that pulling black girls out of class or sending them home for these transgressions adversely affects their ability to learn in school.


P.R. Lockhart for Vox reports:

Grace, a 17-year-old black senior at D.C.’s Duke Ellington School for the Arts, told me that the dress code at her school gives teachers and administrators a lot of discretion in determining when a student is wearing something inappropriate.

“I’ve been told about my bra, whether I’m wearing one, the type that I’m wearing,” she said. “It makes me uncomfortable.”

“I was sent home because I had a bit of splattered paint on my shoe,” says Ceon, a 16-year-old black student who attends D.C.’s Phelps A.C.E. High School. On another occasion, she couldn’t go to class for a full day because her pants weren’t navy blue, a violation of her school uniform. “It didn’t make sense,” she says.


The report notes that 81 percent of D.C. schools require a uniform, and also shows that not only are black girls’ bodies policed, but so are their culturally relevant hairstyles and even head wraps and scarves.

“If schools are places where we are supposed to be training to think ... we need to be treated as such,” said Grace. “There are far more pressing issues inside of schools than what a student wears.”


The Final Days of Gawker Have Come

I am a high school and middle school wrestling ref. Technically, girls are supposed to wear slightly different outfits, hair coverings for long hair.

Reality is, sometimes teams can’t afford enough and kids are sharing gear, or have the wrong gear.

If it’s a high school dual meet, yeah, Ill probably do my deligience and enforce it for varsity matches. Middle school? Fuck all that, let us wrestle.


I counted five instances this season of white PARENTS (not a coach) coming up to me and complaining about a black or Hispanic students dress at middle school. So 6, 7, 8th grade.....

Three complained about the kids not having hair nets. The team didn’t have them, I’m not sending them home without competition, it’s a stupid procedural rule and the only thing on the line is pride.

Funny, they only brought it up for kids with “coarse” hair. Several nice blonde ponytails went by without comment when the farmboys came.

Then, no shit TWICE, I had a parent complain about a competitors breasts (who “coincidence”, were both black).

“They look like they might pop out, can you do something?”


“Doesn’t her uniform seem inappropriate to you?” (this one had to balls to come to me after her her son had just lost to said girl)

I didn’t even know what to do, aside from walk away both times.

Like what? No black girls get to wear singlets post puberty?

I could have been more articulate here but ughhhh.

I brought this up with some peers after the season and both reported similar hair stories.