The new school year has just begun, but a battle over dress code has already broken out at a suburban high school over a rule that students can only wear shirts and dresses with sleeves.
Some female students at McHenry East and West High Schools have organized a "Show Your Shoulders" protest in response to the rule, using social media to spread the word. The students say the rule is sexist because it affects girls' clothing choice much more than boys'.
"If you wear a sun dress, the administration will come up to you and ask you to put on your jacket or leave class," Hailey Everhart, one of the students, said.
Some students say the dress code rule even causes disruptions in class when students are pulled out of the room in the middle of lessons because they are baring their shoulders. The first time a student is caught wearing a shirt or dress without sleeves, he or she receives a warning. The second time means detention.
Some parents, like Everhart's mom, support the protest. Nicole Everhart says she takes issue with the rule because the dress code does not ban short shorts or other revealing clothing.
"You can wear short shorts that show butt cheeks and you can show cleavage and all that stuff, but shoulders you can't show. And I just don't get it," Everhart said.
School administrators say the dress code is not new, and students have protested the rule before.
"The dress code policy is conducive to the district as well as the students," the school said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that some parents and students don't adhere to this policy."
The "Show Your Shoulders" protest is scheduled for Thursday morning.