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Prom Dress Guide Creates Controversy In Catholic High School


After a 21-slide presentation about acceptable prom attire was published online, Boylan Catholic High in Illinois has been accused of body-shaming.

The dress code:

The school’s guide stated that girl’s dresses shouldn’t show cleavage, and that the skirts of the dresses should fall below the mid-thigh.

The guide has been criticized because it stated that different standards will be applied to girls with different body types. The guide reads: Some girls may wear the same dress, but due to body types, one dress may be acceptable while the other is not.”

11 slides contain examples of dresses that are “acceptable” and dresses that aren’t. But only 2 slides are dedicated to the male students’ dress code — one sentence and four pictures.

Alex Symonds, a Boylan senior said that the dress code guide was released in mid-January.

The school placed the girls and the boys in two separates rooms to give them the same presentation. However, according to Symonds, the girls’ presentation started off badly. She said that all the girls immediately booed the teacher, she added that the teacher said “some offensive stuff.”

As per Symonds, the teacher said that one girl wearing one dress is not the same as another girl wearing the same dress. This prompted another student to stand up and say that it’s body-shaming.

Picking a dress is now more complicated:

The guide made it difficult to pick out a dress for prom for Symonds. She added that there have been discussions to have prom outside of the school, and some students took it upon themselves to start a campaign via Twitter.

Last year, the students were shown a similar, but according to Symonds, it was much shorter.

President of the private Catholic school, Amy Ott, said that the dress code isn’t new. “It was developed two years ago by a committee made up of teachers and students who consulted dress codes that existed at other Catholic schools across the country,” she added.

According to Ott, parents find the dress code helpful while shopping, as it assures that whatever they pick “is both elegant and appropriate.” She said: “As a private Catholic high school, we adhere to teaching our students moral values which include modesty. We want all students to feel beautiful in what they wear while also adhering to our values as a Catholic school.”