As high schoolers around the country know, prom season is fast-approaching and there are dresses to buy, tuxes to rent, and flowers to order. While students at Delone Catholic High School in Pennsylvania will have a prom to attend, they will not necessarily be allowed to wear what they want. The school has a new policy—instated this year—that requires "all young women" who plan on attending the prom—whether they attend the school or are the guest of student—to "submit a photo of the gown that will be worn to the prom for pre-approval."
The controversy surrounding the new policy has largely been focused on the fact that the pre-approval addition was only released on March 13 and students have already purchased dresses, many of which have now been deemed unacceptable for prom. The larger issue at hand, though, is one that often pops up around school dances—that the burden of covering up and keeping things "appropriate" falls entirely on the female students.
According to the school, the initial dress code for formal attire was shared in September, and while the language on the Delone Catholic's website and Facebook position the move as a "proactive approach to prevent student's embarrassment and disappointment of being denied entrance to prom due to dress code infractions," the addition of this pre-approval policy suggests it's more of a way for the school to make sure its female students are dressed as conservatively as possible.
A parent of a student at Delone Catholic has published a petition to change.org in opposition to the prom dress pre-approvals, and as of press time, it has garnered 255 supporters. The petition reads, "Our children will not undergo scrutiny of prom gowns based on outdated, unrealistic expectations and rules implemented at such short notice." But you know what would be even better? If they never had to endure such "outdated, unrealistic" expectations. Period.
Another policy in the dress code is the specification that all attendees "need to be dressed in gender-specific formal wear," barring female students from wearing tuxedos and male students from wearing dresses. This comes on the heels of Missouri high schooler Morgan Ball's story of being told his outfit was "distracting" and "unacceptable" and the #ClothingHasNoGender campaign that was launched by his friends in response.
MTV News reached out to Delone Catholic, but had not heard back as of press time.
Stay with us as more details become available.