SALT LAKE CITY, UT (ABC4 News) – It’s “back to school” time for kids across the state. For many parents, particularly those of teenage girls, that means the frustrating task of finding a balance between the current fashions, and the dress code. A local photographer and mom recently learned she’s not alone in that struggle.
For photographer Cat Palmer, the best way to address an issue is through art. That’s why she hosted a photoshoot to address school dress codes. There were more than a dozen students who came to take part in this photo shoot.
“Everyone has come in something they have been shamed for or sent home in,” explains Palmer.
Except Jeremiah Beemah. He came in to support the girls, wearing a shirt he wears to school regularly, but he says it’s never gotten him in trouble.
“It’s not fair, because everybody should be able to wear the same thing, says Beemah.
Palmer explains that this is the point of the photoshoot. She explains, “Today we are here to bring awareness that it’s 2017, and the dress code policy in Utah is a problem.”
ABC 4 Utah reached out to all the districts of students we spoke with and reviewed their dress code policies: the codes vary from district to district, and sometimes from school to school within districts.
Only Wasatch School District responded to our request for comment. They said:
“We encourage any student or parent who is interested in changing the dress code to contact their school principal who can help them work through concerns or ideas for change.”
Cat and several other parents at this photo shoot feel there’s a blatant discrepancy between the rules for girls and the rules for boys. These parents say when girls are told their bodies are distracting, but boys aren’t, it sends a harmful message.
These families don’t want any extreme changes, but they do believe certain outfits should not be seen as a distraction.
Cat plans to talk with the Salt Lake City School District since it’s one of the state’s largest districts. She hopes it will make some changes, causing a ripple effect across the state.