Accuracy in Media

A principal at a high school in Maryland is requiring students to show up at her school dressed appropriately, and the Washington Post is not happy.

The requirements, as related by Joe Heim of the Post under the headline “The long and short of a Maryland school’s dress code sparks protest,” are not remarkable.

“’Skirts and dresses must no show private areas when sitting, walking, climbing stairs or doing normal school activities,’ the new principal at Albert Einstein High School, Christine C. Handy, wrote in an email last week. ‘Shorts must not expose private areas when sitting, walking, climbing stairs or doing normal school activities.’”

The code also forbids “bandeaus, backless tops, exposed midriffs, or visible undergarments,” Heim reported.

Einstein High is in Kensington in Montgomery County, near the border with the District of Columbia. Montgomery, a notoriously liberal jurisdiction, is a sanctuary county for illegal immigrants and has been in the news recently after a seventh illegal immigrant was arrested on sexual assault charges in a five-week stretch going back to July.

Then, to let readers know how the paper felt about this move, Heim wrote: “Some” support the principal’s effort to “target clothing they said is more appropriate for the beach or the boardwalk than a classroom,” but “many others argued the new standards are sexist, ill-conceived and impossible to enforce fairly.”

Heim pointed out the issue has generated group texts, social media activity and two petitions from students and that last week, some students broke the dress code on purpose in defiance. He quoted a “junior girl who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak openly about the issue outside the Kensington school” as saying, “’They broke the dress code, but it was within reason. They were not being super inappropriate.’”

Then he gets to the crux of the story. “Handy’s email about the dress code noted that T-shirts invoking inappropriate language, gangs, sexual innuendos or weapons are banned,” Heim wrote. “But this is what irked many students: The bulk of the message focused on what was not acceptable for girls to wear at school.”

Dress codes are an issue in every generation, Heim noted, as teens push back against what they consider restrictive policies of their elders. “But how dress codes are enforced has become increasingly controversial.”

He then cites a report from the National Women’s Law Center, but he does not identify it as a radical left group that pushes for abortion through time of birth and an end to expulsions from schools for any reason and that claims in one document that “the assumption that transgender girls and women have categorical athletic advantages over cisgender girls and women is inaccurate.”

The study Heim cites has little to do with the situation at Einstein High. The report, Heim wrote, “found that among 29 D.C. schools, there were more dress code restrictions in majority-black high schools than other high schools. And public charter schools in the District had, on average, more than twice the number of dress code restrictions as traditional public schools in the 2018-2019 school year.”

Einstein is not a majority-black school. About half its students are Hispanic, about a fifth are white and about a sixth are black.

He then quotes the report’s co-author saying, “Especially in this #MeToo movement that we’re in, schools shouldn’t be teaching students that it’s OK to scrutinize girls’ bodies … or make them feel like they have to cover up or feel less than.”

He later brings in more anonymous quotes from alleged students, saying “the new rules target girls and could cause body image issues.”

He closes by letting parents weigh in. None disapproved of the dress code, although one worried whether it could be evenly enforced and another said whatever rules are adopted should be county-wide and not just for one school.

Yet, only “some” were for it, and “many” were against.

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