Dress Code Blues: One Houston High School Has Asked Parents to Do Some Adulting and Suddenly People Are Upset

A principal at one high school in Houston is so fed up with the way parents are dressed when they come to her school that she has implemented a new code for what they should not wear when they visit the school and attend school-related functions.


The Houston Chronicle reports:

James Madison High School will turn away parents if they show up at the school wearing bonnets, pajamas, hair rollers or leggings, among other clothing items, according to a memo signed by the school’s new principal, Carlotta Outley Brown. The new parent dress code is posted on the front page of the school’s website.

“Parents, we do value you as a partner in your child’s education,” Outley Brown, herself a graduate of Madison High School, said in the memo. “However, please know we have to have standards, most of all we must have high standards.”

The dress code is posted on the school’s website. It states:

Source: James Madison High School (Houston) website.

The students themselves already have uniforms they have to wear. Now parents and their guests will either have to shape up their dress code or ship out.

Outley Brown also has talked to parents in the past about using bad language on school grounds, according to news accounts.

The HouChron notes that some folks are, of course, offended:

“I’m almost insulted,” said Tomiko Miller, the mother of a Madison High School student. “I really think it was discriminatory, the language that was used. It was demeaning. And I’m African American — and if it’s misty outside and I have a hair bonnet on, I don’t see how that’s anyone’s business.”

Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, called codes relating to women’s hair “classist,” “belittling” and “dismissive.”

“I’m sorry — this principal may have plenty of money and time to go to the hairdresser weekly and have her stuff done,” he said. “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.”


KHOU reports on others who are unhappy with the new school policy:

“I think it’s ridiculous!” said parent Dora Breeding. “We are an adult and we are taxpaying adults and we shouldn’t be told what to do or what not to wear. We are not the students we are the parents.”

On the school’s website, the dress code states, “We are preparing your child for a prosperous future. We want them to know what is appropriate…”

“I think that’s crazy,” said senior student Te’varrius Stephens. “Nobody’s coming up here in no outrageous things. Nobody coming up in here with no bathing suits, they don’t come in here with their body out…”

Outley Brown seems like a pretty sharp cookie who isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers:

Outley Brown previously served as principal of Peck Elementary School, southeast of downtown Houston, for about 14 years. She received widespread media attention in 2015 when her campus received $100,000 from Target during a live presentation on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” DeGeneres called Outley Brown an educator who “works seven days a week dedicating her life to students, who are mostly poor or homeless.”

Peck routinely met state academic standards during her tenure, occasionally earning distinctions awarded to schools performing above average compared with campuses with similar student demographics. Peck scored an 80 on last year’s state academic accountability rating system, slightly below the district average of 84.


If the way some parents show up to the school and school functions is anything like some of what I’ve seen in the past, I think the principal is right here. Plus, if students are taught at the school that there are ways to dress appropriately in a public setting, the parents and their guests should set that example, too – at least on school grounds if no where else. It’s just a shame the principal feels like she has to do this.

Adulting really isn’t that hard, is it?

What do you think?

Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–


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