US mum outraged over school's strict pool party dress code

Mum fights school over pool party dress code.
Mum fights school over pool party dress code.  Photo: Jennifer Smith

An Indiana mum was outraged after she received a pool party invitation with a strict dress code from her son's school.

The invitation brought home by Jennifer Smith's son, who is in grade six, stated "all girls must wear a non-white t-shirt over their swimsuit."

Speaking to the Huffington Post Smith said: "Being a feminist and seeing things through that filter, I was just kind of enraged by that."

Though Smith does not have a daughter she said, "They're saying little girls need to be ashamed of their bodies and cover themselves up."

Boys were asked not to wear speedos.

The pool party was for students at Rhoades Elementary in Indianapolis, something the school has done many times in the past.

Smith contacted the school to find out why girls had to wear t-shirts.

The school responded saying that in the past girls had attended the pool party wearing inappropriate swimmers. 

According to Babble, Smith said she was told the rule also prevents teasing.

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"Due to the varying sizes of students at this age, [making t-shirts mandatory] takes away the ability of kiddos making fun of others for wearing a shirt [since] everyone is required to wear one."

A district spokesperson told the Huffington Post the rule was put in place for economic reasons. 

"We know that for many of our families, buying an extra [one-piece] swimsuit for their children would be a luxury they cannot afford.

"To address the issue of appropriate dress for the swim party, we believed asking the girls to wear t-shirts over their swimsuits was the solution that addressed the issue most sensitively."

Replying to the school Smith wrote:

"As you are aware adolescence is a very confusing time and can also be detrimental to girl's emotional wellbeing.

"Setting one standard for half of the student body only promotes the idea that girls bodies are naturally shameful."

In the end, the school changed the dress code to say "all students should wear appropriate swimwear" and t-shirts were made optional.

"If we can change little things to make it better, and examine the reasons why we do things, that would be great," said Smith.  

"It's these small decisions that can alter how young people view themselves and help or hurt them in the long run."

Smith's son said no girls wore t-shirts to the pool party. 

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