APS adopts changes to dress code policy - Albuquerque Journal

APS adopts changes to dress code policy

Erica Ho, an upcoming senior at La Cueva High School, has expressed her concerns to the Board of Education about dress policies that disproportionately impact women. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Students should be able to be comfortable in their own skin. They should also be able to express themselves with their clothes, incoming La Cueva High School senior Erica Ho says.

But sometimes, students get in trouble for that expression. And more often than not, Ho says, it’s young women who are singled out – often by dress code enforcers who say their goal is to maintain a professional, “distraction-free” environment.

“You come to school trying to express yourself, … you come to school trying to learn,” Ho said. “You’re not really thinking about if I’m showing too much skin, because that really shouldn’t be on a woman’s mind.”

So, determined to make a change, she raised her concerns with the Albuquerque Public Schools board.

On Wednesday, the board took up that very issue, and unanimously voted to change district policy with new language aimed at equal enforcement of the dress code. The policy changes came after gathering feedback for a year, an APS spokeswoman said.

Ho made an impression on some of the board members. During a discussion about dress code earlier this month, board member Josefina Domínguez referenced her in making a case that the board should do something about young women being overly disciplined or punished because of the dress code.

“Erica very articulately pointed out that it wasn’t her problem if a young man couldn’t control himself, because she was wearing spaghetti straps – that the onus was on young men,” Domínguez said. “She was spot-right-on that we shouldn’t be engaged in controlling girls’ bodies.”

The new APS policy states that students should be able to dress comfortably. It goes on to say that dress code enforcement shouldn’t lead to differential treatment based on racial identity, sex, cultural or religious identity, or “body maturity,” along with several other areas.

It also states that “students and staff are responsible for managing their own distractions without regulating another student’s dress.” Each individual school can adopt its own dress code, and that will be an opportunity for its community to have its say, district policy states.

Ho said dress code enforcement that’s justified by cultivating a professional or distraction-free workplace insinuates two things – first that women are responsible for “others sexualizing their bodies,” and second that women’s bodies do not belong in professional environments.

“In school, you’re never really confronted by a sympathetic dress coder,” Ho said. “If you’re showing too much skin, you’re typically met with degrading, condescending, scolding, or even passive-aggressive remarks … It really makes me not want to come to school.”

In fact, Ho added, pointing out a dress code issue can be more distracting than the outfit getting called out originally was.

Even when that’s not the case, she said “it should be my peers’ responsibility to stay focused on their work, rather than my responsibility to create a ‘distraction-free environment’ for them.”

Ho said she voiced her concerns to the APS board last fall, in a three-student panel which touched on several areas, including issues relating to race.

In discussing language about the discipline and dress code revisions earlier this month, district officials cited New Mexico’s iteration of the Crown Act, which was passed last year.

In language that was also adopted into policy on Wednesday, they stressed not treating a student’s hairstyle or headdress as they relate to students’ culture or race as disciplinary issues.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » APS adopts changes to dress code policy

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Rio Rancho police shoot, kill person after confrontation at ...
ABQnews Seeker
Rio Rancho Police officers shot and ... Rio Rancho Police officers shot and killed somebody during a confrontation at an apartment complex shortly after midnight Tuesday.
2
'It's been a great ride': Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive ...
ABQnews Seeker
Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive director is ... Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive director is retiring
3
California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal
ABQnews Seeker
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six Western ... FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six Western states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed on a model to dramatically cut water ...
4
New Mexico faces a budget abyss if oil and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Report predicts $36 billion revenue deficit ... Report predicts $36 billion revenue deficit in 15 years possible
5
Senate panel, on party-line vote, approves bill increasing minimum ...
ABQnews Seeker
A push to increase the minimum ... A push to increase the minimum age to buy certain firearms from 18 to 21 cleared its first Senate hurdle Monday, after a heated ...
6
Bill aimed at bolstering NM's patchwork rural health care ...
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal to tap New Mexico's ... A proposal to tap New Mexico's revenue windfall to bolster health care services in rural parts of the state where residents frequently have to ...
7
New Mexico bill to restrict lobbyist ‘revolving door’ advances
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal moving through the Senate ... A proposal moving through the Senate would prohibit former legislators and appointees working under the governor from returning immediately to the Roundhouse as paid ...
8
New Mexico’s checkerspot butterfly placed on Endangered Species List
ABQnews Seeker
With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies ... With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies being raised at the ABQ BioPark than found in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ...
9
No drama for birthday llama: ABQ llama celebrates 27th ...
ABQnews Seeker
'This llama is bringing everyone together,' ... 'This llama is bringing everyone together,' says family friend