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High School Bans Backless Prom Dresses, Ruins Lives

Illustration for article titled High School Bans Backless Prom Dresses, Ruins Lives

Officials at a Connecticut school are ruining prom a full week before the bad music even begins with a late dress code announcement — no gowns that are backless or have slits or cut-outs will be allowed. If students disobey these rules, they’ll be sent home even if they’ve already paid nearly $100 for a prom ticket.

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Shelton High School head Beth Smith made the aforementioned announcement on May 16 despite having to know that many of her students and their parents had already purchased their outfit for the big night. According to the Guardian, prom is already pricey with $919 (!!!) being the average cost of the night. Students are upset but their parents are pissed.

Alex Gerics, a junior at the school who was interviewed by the New York Times, bought her dress back in March. It wasn’t until last week that she was told that her long black backless dress breached the school’s standards.

“They say it’s in the student handbook,” Tonny Montalvo, Gerics’ mother, told the Times. “There’s no specifics anywhere.”

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In response, school superintendent Freeman Burr says these dress code guidelines were included in the student handbook distributed when the school year began—which I’ll assume few kids actually read. But, let’s give the students the benefit of the doubt, if everyone already knew about the guidelines, why re-announce them last week and not earlier in the school year? From Burr:

“Those guidelines were announced over the PA system, again, last Friday following concerns raised by some faculty and staff, and even some of our male students, who had some serious concerns about some of the prom dresses that were being shown,” Burr told NBC.

Shelton’s handbook also forbids halter tops, tube tops, strapless tops, see-through lace tops, strap tank tops. When the 500 students who have already bought prom tickets for $90 got their passes, they also had to sign a contract—weird, no?—promising to dress according to the school’s rules, though the form didn’t outline what the codes were.

Unsurprisingly, Shelton’s dress code rules only apply to female students and sounds a lot like that Great Leggings Debate of 2014, just for another body part. Can we all just agree that women, no matter what age, have breasts, boys will have to learn how to contain their desires and get over it?

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Image via Shutterstock.


Contact the author at hillary@jezebel.com.

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DISCUSSION

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Lilly (Hungry hungry hipster!)

I’m not going to spout off on how dress codes are sexist bullshit again because we’ve been covering this like weekly and I’m too tired to get outraged anymore, but they really should have (re?)informed the student body of this more than a week before prom. Unless parents can exchange or return the dresses they bought for their kids, they’re going to be out of a sizable chunk of money and that is really shitty for them.