Listen: Principal Defends Dress Code Enforcement Deemed 'Degrading'

A dress code that barred about 40 girls from their last formal dance needs to be rewritten, Capo Valley High Principal Kevin Astor said.

The dress code policy needs to be rewritten, but it wasn't degrading, Capistrano Valley High Principal Kevin Astor said.

At the February Winter Formal, about 40 girls were barred from the dance and made to demonstrate their dresses fit properly. The demonstrations were 'degrading,' one student said, with girls required to lift their arms up and down and turn their backs to male administrators.

That's not how it happened though, Astor said. He said female administrators were on the front line deciding what dresses violated the new school policy. 

"There may have been a student that engaged in that behavior themselves, said, 'Hey, look, it's fine, look, I'm walking up and down.' But they weren't asked to do that by any male administrators," Astor said.

Still, he says, about 15 girls violated the dress code policy without realizing it.

The principal has since asked some of those girls to participate in clarifying the existing dress code.

  • See the video above for more from Astor.

See some of the dresses deemed in violation of the code in the photos above. After hearing Astor's explanation, do you think the school made the right call?

Tree Party May 11, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Any time I see the words "Ayn Rand was right", my BS detector goes off and starts flashing and clanging. I kind of get the association of the Rand quote with the subject at hand; but I think using this "controversy" as an excuse for a transparent plug for Ayn Rand borders on trolling. Ayn Rand was mostly wrong, on every level, in my opinion (not that it has anything to do with the dress code at a "formal" high school event.) People occasionally spontaneously act virtuously in fictional novels; but in the real world, all people do not spontaneously act virtuously, especially children in large groups. By the way, it is also wrong to say that "the only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals." Another power government has is to aggregate capital to provide roads, canals, schools, and other crucial infrastructure that the private economy can not or will not provide. Another power government has is to investigate foodstuffs, medicines, chemicals, etc., to provide protection to its citizens against poisons and other dangers. So Ayn Rand was actually wrong about that. I wasn't there at the Capo event, so I don't have a strong feeling about the issue of the dress code enforcement. But Ayn Rand doesn't have anything important to tell us about the propriety of high schools denying a "clothing optional" policy for its events.
Tree Party May 11, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Excellent comment. I think I read somewhere that a favorite adolescent pastime is "pushing the envelope", seeing how far they can stretch the rules and what they can get away with. Accordingly, I'd be curious as to what percentage of the students who attended this dance were able successfully to interpret and observe the dress code... Just wondering..
Dan Avery May 11, 2013 at 09:44 PM
I outgrew Ayn Rand in the eighth grade when I read "The Catcher in the Rye," and then moved on to "Nine Stories", "Franny and Zooey", and "Raise High The Roof Beams Carpenters: Seymour An Introduction." I just assumed everyone else did too.
Dan Avery May 11, 2013 at 09:53 PM
My point, em, which by the way is a screen and not your real name, is that clearly we are focusing on the wrong things. Her comment was far too general for a high school comment and it points to the reason that I had to spend my time teaching how to write a clear thesis in the highest level composition class offered at UCI. California bounces between ranking 46th and 48th nationally when it comes to education. I was educated in Minnesota, which always ranks somewhere in the top five for education. So before you question my high school essays you need to know that. Far from trolling I am pointing to a very serious national problem. California is a very populated state and its people are ill-educated. Were they not, you might have read more into my comment and realized the intent behind it.
Kara May 12, 2013 at 05:11 AM
Fingertip length dresses, thick straps on tank tops, and longer shorts are simply not the style nowadays. It's unrealistic to expect girls to be able to find this type of clothing - I have yet to see a single store that sells longer shorts for girls as longer clothing is an outdated style. If the weather is warm out, what's wrong with wearing clothing that allows you to be cool and comfortable as long as it isn't hurting anyone else? If a teacher or a male student is "distracted" by the extra four inches of leg or exposed shoulders (both of which are body parts that are completely neutral), perhaps they should reconsider why they feel the need to deem the worth of another person by the amount of skin they're showing. Instead of teaching girls that the solution to being oversexualized by their peers is to cover up and avoid the problem perhaps everyone (teachers, students, and parents of any gender) should be taught to view everyone with respect regardless of what they are wearing.


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