Pauline's School Uniforms and Dress Codes Page
Religion & Cultural Issues
Information about school dress codes as they relate to religion, cultural identity, and ethnic pride.

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This Web Page by Pauline Harding for Art Nurk.
Contents may be copied if credit is given.

The United States is a diverse country, with people of many faiths and backgrounds.  Within the context of a school’s dress code, it's important to allow all students to conform with the rules and traditions of their religions, and to respect their need to identify with their family's history and culture.  Why?  Because an important part of education is learning about one’s own religion, history, and culture.

        Muslim Girl Suspended for Head Scarf
An 11-year-old Oklahoma girl has been suspended from a public school because officials said her Muslim head scarf violates dress code policies. …School officials instituted a dress code in 1997 prohibiting the wearing of hats and other head coverings indoors. Officials said they implemented the code to stem gang-related activity. Hern declined to remove her hijab, saying it would violate the way she observes her religion. …"
As I see it right now, I don't think we can make a special accommodation for religious wear," said school attorney D.D. Hayes. "You treat religious items the same as you would as any other item, no better, no worse. Our dress code prohibits headgear, period." …
He added that, under the dress code, a Jewish child would not be allowed to wear a yarmulke, the skullcap traditionally worn by orthodox Jews, to school.
Honestly, now, should the administration of this school be entrusted to teach children about America’s heritage of religious freedom and tolerance?  What were they thinking?

        High school witch sues for the right to wear a penticle to represent her Wiccan faith

        Government school bans cross necklaces

        Indians want to wear traditional dress to graduation, District says no

        Feather, Tribal Cloth Cost Diplomas
"An American Indian who hung an eagle feather from her mortarboard and two blacks who wore a multicolored African tribal cloth with their graduation gowns were denied their high school diplomas..., The district is withholding their Muskogee High School diplomas and transcripts until they complete 25 days in summer school as punishment. "

        When the Principal Becomes a Fashion Cop - Young woman wears African head wrap to school
What my classmates found really ridiculous was how the administration-at a school that prides itself on embracing ethnic diversity-could be so ignorant as to insist that under the dress code, a cultural statement like a head wrap is the equivalent of a baseball cap."

        Florida Student Suspended for Wearing Cuban Flag Necklace
"The ACLU brought an action in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on behalf of Peter after he was prohibited by school officials from wearing a beaded necklace at his high school that had a Cuban flag on it."

        Girl With Black Lipstick Files Suit
"Karla is an individual," her mother, Connie, told the newswire service. "She's a good kid. ... She chose to wear this makeup, and it's no biggie. It's just a trend."

        Dress Codes - Religion in the Public Schools
"Guidelines for a growing and changing phenomenon."

        Public school dress code challenged on religious-liberty grounds
Catherine Hicks, Aaron's great-grandmother and guardian, wrote letters to the McIver principal and the district superintendent in July saying she was a minister in two Christian churches and had a "great relationship with Jesus." She added that complying with the dress code would "amount to allegiance to the spirit of the Antichrist."

        For more on religious and cultural issues, look at my Gender & Sexuality (GLBTQ) page and my Legal Issues page.

"Beware of all enterprises which require new clothes"
-- Thoreau