High School Student Punished for Not Wearing a Bra to School, Told 'People Assume Bad Things' | 22 Words

Ah, high school dress codes, remember those?

Ostensibly meant to ensure a safe and distraction-free school environment, high school dress codes have proven themselves time and again to be anachronistic, offensive methods of perpetuating sexism.

Now, this is not to say they aren't entirely unnecessary. No one wants to see crowds of teenagers sauntering to school in their PJs (and you know they would if they could), and perish the thought of ultra low-rise jeans (both male and female) hanging off the edge of myriad and varied teenage buttocks.

The point is, high school dress codes do actually have a point.

They're meant to ensure that the sartorial choices of teenagers do not descend into a hedonistic free-for-all, rife with unfortunate and eye-searing fashion choices that even their wearers will regret in later years.

The problem is, however, that many dress codes vilify and punish girls, like this one, seen below:

Instead of teaching boys (and indeed, grown men) that they should learn to control their lusts and treat girls and women like equal human beings, dress codes teach girls that it's their responsibility to account for male lust.

Most times, it's not – "Hey, Timmy, Rachel is a human being, and you should treat her like she is one."

Instead, it's "Hey, Rachel, you should put some more clothes on so you don't tempt Timmy with your sinful body."

In the high school environment, both girls and boys are supposed to feel safe enough to both learn and navigate young adulthood.

via: Twitter

Unfortunately, many dress codes reinforce the narrative that girls' bodies are seductive in nature and boys and grown men need to be protected from them.

In this way, boys are valued more than girls, and their physical and mental wellbeing is put above that of their female peers.

And this dynamic more apparent than ever at a California high school recently...

Remy is seen here with her brother Gavin who recently tweeted, "lucky to have such a strong, smart sister. you've taught me so much. I'm happy to call you a sister and a friend."

via: Twitter

According to her friend Kaitlyn, Remy is a "top-notch 4.4 GPA student."

August was a ridiculously hot month in Southern California, and high schooler Remy Altuna had been dressing for the occasion.

One of her outfit choices, however, was eye-raising to certain members of her school's faculty.

During one week in August, Altuna chose to wear a black bodysuit and baggy jeans to school.

via: Twitter

She had gone through most of the day with no comment on the outfit from teachers or the officers that patrolled the hallways looking for dress violations. That is, until she went to her school office to get a paper signed.

That was when an assistant vice principal took her aside and told her to cover up.

via: Twitter

"She said that my shirt was low cut; then she asked if I was wearing a bra," Altuna said to Yahoo News. "She went on to say that because I wasn’t wearing a bra, she didn’t want people to think anything bad of me or talk inappropriately or have anything bad to say."

For reference, Altuna didn't feel she needed a bra.

via: Twitter

And if she had in fact worn one, she would have then been subject to the dress code, which does not say anything about bras, but has this to say of shirts "Tops must cover all parts of undergarments and shall not be low cut or revealing."

"BHS is so out of line. Now they want to dress code you for not wearing a bra. My underwear is none of there [sic] business," Remy tweeted.

via: Twitter

And later, "If Mrs. Weber is concerned about people talking about my appearance she should focus on dealing with the students behaving inappropriately."

Furthermore, Altuna says, she wouldn't have minded being pulled aside so much if the critique wasn't completely one-sided.

"This year it just seems like they’re really out for blood, looking for anything," she said, further noting that girls were always being censured while boys' violations, like ripped jeans, were overlooked.

Other students agreed.

via: Twitter

More students began chiming in:

via: Twitter

via: Twitter

In an email to Yahoo, Christina Pierce, principal of Beaumont High School, explained the reasoning behind Altuna's dress code warning.
In a school with 2,800 students, we acknowledge that enforcing the dress code is not a perfect process; administrators diligently work to ensure all students are following the dress code. Our goal is to establish a school culture that supports a productive academic atmosphere and safe environment. We provide ongoing training for administrators and staff, who educate students in identifying sexual harassment, and hold regular discussions with students about respectful behavior at school and in the classroom.

Still, this is entirely missing the point.

Blaming girls for their bodies sets up a misogynistic dynamic where women are to blame for being sexually assaulted.

It's not that big a leap from being blamed for the clothes they wear serving as "distractions," to being blamed for being assaulted.

Again, it's not, "this person assaulted me, they're to blame," it's "she was wearing a dress and seduced me, so she's to blame."

As Altuna stated, "If my vice principal was so concerned about bullying and people saying bad things about me then she should focus on the students who are behaving inappropriately... We as women shouldn’t be put down because of our bodies."

Not all dress code incidents are one-sided, however.
When girls in San Benito High School in Hollister, California found themselves being cited for wearing off-the-shoulder tops, boys stepped up with a very unique protest. That's how you ally, gents!