Colorado Springs

Students protest "dress code sexism" at local high school

Students protest "dress code sexism"

Students at James Irwin Charter High School have launched a petition drive demanding changes to the school's dress code.

Seven female students shared written letters with News Channel 13 expressing what they describe as "sexist behavior" from faculty.

The students claim they were "lined up" and humiliated when faculty called them out of class to assess if their clothing was compliant with the school's dress code.

Kateland's story

"We were told we were getting a talk on the dress code," said Kateland Neufeld. "So we thought, oh it's nothing new, they just want to crack down more."

Neufeld said the way the staff decided to "crackdown" was just shocking and embarassing.

"Every girl, we want you to line up and you're going to walk through us," she said.

According to Nuefeld, there were seven administrators who evaluated if students' pants were too tight by pinching the material.

"Administration would go up to them and physically touch their thighs and grab their pants," said Neufeld.

The letters students wrote about their experience

One letter said: "The administration told us to change the way we dress because "boy will be boys"

Another letter said: "They lined us up as if we were animals"

Some even recognized: "I have struggled to find pants that fit"
Male students who witnessed what happened said it was hard to watch.

"The way I interpreted it, they were like animals," said Victor Gonzalez. "They were not addressed like human beings."

James Irwin Charter High School's response

James Irwin Charter High School's CEO Jonathon Berg pointed out that the dress code evaluation wasn't a "line up."

"They were dismissed from a large area into the hallway and there were teachers just trying to help them say 'this works' or 'this doesn't'."

Berg confirmed administrators are looking into the way the incident was handled.

"There's a lot of different versions of what happened and I'm going to continue reviewing the video footage and interview the teachers that were present."

For now, the students are supporting each other, calling the classmates who came forward, brave.

"I would like to highlight the work of the students who chose to speak out," said James Irwin Charter High School's Student Body President. "This bravery cannot be manufactured and it is recognized."

Berg said he expects to conduct additional training for the staff after they identify specifically what happened.


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