Kyle Phoenix Books 2018
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Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Kyle Phoenix Asks: What do you think of asking middle school students to dress based on their "relationship status"?
A middle school’s spirit week is being called “inappropriate” by a concerned parent because of its color-themed dress code.
According to a tweet from M.J. Mouton, a father whose 12-year-old daughter is a middle school student in Iowa, La., the Homecoming 2018 Dress Day guidelines included color coding based on the young students’ relationship status.
The theme was apparently carried over from the high school that shares a campus with the middle school, but Mouton was not OK with the message it was sending to children as young as 11.
“Maybe it’s appropriate for high school, but for middle schoolers, it’s not,” Mouton, who writes science books for kids, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “[My daughter] doesn’t really have interest in those things. She also sees that there’s going to be some kids who potentially are going to feel bad [about not dating], or kids who are going to participate because they want to feel a part of something.”
As his tweet was spreading far and wide, Mouton also went the old-fashioned route and emailed the school about his complaint on Sunday. “Are you promoting relationships for kids in middle school?” he asked in his letter. “Are you setting up boys and especially girls to be targets? Do you understand that if a single kid speaks up about this being wrong, which many do [feel], they fear repercussions from students as well as teachers?”
By Monday morning, he received a response.
“Our intentions were not to cause undue stress on students or their families,” read the letter, which Mouton posted on Twitter in a screenshot. “Unfortunately, we did not hear about them until so late in the week that we were unable to change our days. I can assure you that we have plans in the works for next year to avoid a repeat of these circumstances.”
Mouton’s interpretation of the letter is that the school received complaints other than his. He also wonders why the school couldn’t send out an automated message declaring Monday a “free” dress day.
Iowa Middle/High School and the Calcasieu Parish School Board have not yet responded to Yahoo’s request for comment. The school board told local news station KPLC that it had no comment because the issue was handled at the school level.
Mouton, who grew up in the town of Iowa, is slightly worried about his daughter facing the repercussions of this complaint becoming a news story, but he had her blessing before he sent the tweet. Some in the area, he thinks, maintain “heirloom ideologies” about boys’ and girls’ behavior.
“I don’t think my child would’ve done it if he were in middle school,” Doneka Dugas, a mother of a high school student, told KPLC.
Judging by the response to his tweets, many people agree with Mouton’s assessment that the theme was inappropriate. He also thinks that only about 50 percent of the kids in his daughter’s school wound up dressing according to the theme on Monday.
“If nobody said anything, they would just let this go on for years and years,” he says.
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