Students Cancel Dress Code Protest, Plan Steps for Change

Some of the female students at McHenry East and West High Schools had organized a "Show Your Shoulders" protest in response to a rule that students must wear shirts and dresses with sleeves

Students at two northwest suburban high schools have decided to cancel a protest against a school dress code rule they believe is sexist.

Several female students at McHenry East and West High Schools were expected to hold a "Show Your Shoulders" protest Thursday in response to a rule they said is sexist because it affects girls' clothing more than boys'. 

In a post on the "Disapproval of the school dress code" Facebook page, the students said the protest was canceled and that a group of senior girls "are going to follow the appropriate steps to changing [the rule]."

Details of the protest made headlines earlier this week after students met with administrators, who said the protesters could be disciplined for baring their shoulders during the event. 

Some students say the dress code rule causes disruptions in class when students are pulled out of the room in the middle of lessons because they showed 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.

"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 parents, like Everhart's mom, supported 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."

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