High school's decision to turn away girls at dance over dress code is a 'sexism issue,' parents say

A Kentucky high school is under fire after it turned away dozens of girls at a homecoming dance for wearing what it perceived were short dresses, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. 

Last Saturday, the staff at Eastern High School in Louisville reportedly used rulers to measure each girl's hem to see how high it was above the knees. The school had earlier sent a letter listing the dress code rules, one of which required that dresses be no more than two inches above the top of the knee. 

Upon determining that the girls' dresses did not meet that requirement last weekend, school officials allegedly refused to admit them to the dance. Following the incident, one of the girls, an unidentified 15-year-old, admitted to the newspaper that "it just made me feel awful about myself like I wasn't acceptable." Her mother Carrie Vittitoe agreed, calling the school's policy a "sexism issue."

That same day, another parent took to Twitter to voice her anger. 

"Wondering why Eastern High School insulted young girls by MEASURING THEIR DRESSES WITH A RULER AS THEY ENTERED HOMECOMING DANCE??" wrote Emily Burrice. "These beautiful girls were not admitted."

Burrice's tweet was met with support from other Twitter users, many of whom criticized the school for taking things too far. 

"Eastern High School reeks of misogyny and sexism," one person wrote. 

"Seriously?!?" another replied. "I was in charge of homecoming for 8 years at the school where I work and NOT ONCE did we send a student away for what they were wearing. That’s crazy!"

Eastern has also since been accused by other parents for inconsistently enforcing the dress code. 

"I have two daughters who attend Eastern," Lori Chitwood said in an email to the Courier Journal. "One was admitted, and one was not. It actually ruined my oldest daughter's homecoming." 

In response to the backlash, a spokeswoman for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), which oversees Eastern High School, said on Monday that it would review its policies. 

"Student representatives and parent representatives will review the dress code as well, along with a teacher group, and administrators will work with their (school-based decision-making council) to consider suggestions for improvement," Renee Murphy said. 

In a letter obtained by the newspaper, Eastern High School Principal Lana Kaelin also addressed last week's episode with both students and parents. 

"I understand your concerns and truly regret that some of our students were not able to enjoy their evening," she wrote. "Understandably, we had students and families who were upset or hurt by what took place, and for that I apologize."

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