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Leggings/Yoga Pants Rule At Glenwood Causes Stir

Claire Farnsworth on left in red shirt with a group of supporters at last week's school board meeting

Here's rule #3 in a new dress code for Glenwood High School in Chatham: "If wearing leggings or yoga pants, tops must cover the entire buttocks."

It might sound simple, but it's caused over 2,000 people to sign a petition against it. Claire Farnsworth is the student behind the effort. She was on a committee last year comprised of another student, parents and teachers.

"The committee voted on the rules but Farnsworth thinks the leggings/yoga pants rule goes too far. "It is sexualizing young girls and I don't think that's the school's position ... It doesn't seem like something that's healthy for our society."

Farnsworth said the message is one that tells girls it's their responsibility to protect themselves from sexual predators, rather than emphasizing the importance of consent no matter how someone is dressed.

At a school board meeting last week she addressed the board about the matter. Farnsworth had been told weeks ago she couldn't get her issue on the agenda, but could offer comment. After her 5 minute statement, she was then told the board couldn't discuss or comment on her issue since it wasn't officially on the agenda.

She's not sure what the next step is and the school board president, Steve Copp, wrote the following in an email to NPR Illinois: "We appreciate and respect Ms. Farnsworth taking the time to attend our last meeting to voice her concerns about the dress code policy ... Towards the end of every school year at GHS, it's been the practice of the Administration to bring to the BOE (board of education) for approval changes to the Student Handbook for the upcoming year. The BOE approved the current handbook and currently we're not aware of any changes recommended for approval." 

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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