On August 16, 2018, 3,000 students of Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas were shown a controversial video on the second day of classes, instructing them about the school’s new dress code discouraging girls from wearing athletic shorts. The fictional video shows a groups of female students walking down a hallway wearing the discouraged attire while the song “Bad Girls” by M.I.A. plays in the background. An administrator reprimands the students and shuffles them into a “dress code violators” room where they are forced to chant “I will not wear athletic shorts.” A senior at the school, Catherine Moring, was offended by what she perceived to be a blatant act of sexism by the school. She posted the video on her Twitter account along with the following message: “Today my school was shown this video. So sad how ONLY girls are shown as the violators. I understand why my school has a dress code, but what about the boys who wear shorts, or show their shoulders? It’s 2018. Why are we still over-sexualizing teen girls?” The video went viral, being viewed 92,000 times in its first two days online. The controversy prompted a response by first-year principal Will Skelton who sent a letter to parents apologizing for what he called a “mistake” and blamed construction around the school for not being able to hold a school assembly where school officials would usually emphasize the dress code.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Good Intentions, Defeasibility
I apologized to our students regarding this issue today, but wanted to reach out and apologize to parents as well. I’m a firm believer that when you make a mistake, you own it, you apologize, and you make it right.
Yesterday we showed a dress code video that featured only female dress code violations, and was accompanied by a poor song choice. Construction in and around the campus prevented us from holding student orientation, which is typically accompanied by a fashion show that demonstrates what to wear, and what not to wear. We believed a video would be a good way to replace the fashion show, but this video absolutely missed the mark.
Please accept my sincere apology for not ensuring our video achieved its intended purpose – to remind ALL students of our dress code expectations.
If you want to visit with me about this or any other concern you may have, my door is always open.”
Hernandez, M. (2018, August 17). Principal apologizes after ‘sexist’ dress code video upsets parents, students. WFAA. Retrieved from: https://www.wfaa.com/mobile/articles/news/principal-apologizes-after-sexist-dress-code-video-upsets-parents-students/287-585257109
Puhak, J. (2018, August 18). Fox News. Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2018/08/18/texas-high-school-principal-apologizes-after-sexist-dress-code-video-goes-viral.html
Woods, A. (2018, September 23). High school under fire for ‘sexist’ dress code video. New York Post. Retrieved from: https://nypost.com/2018/08/23/high-school-under-fire-for-sexist-dress-code-video/