I’m sorry, I didn’t realize my stomach was a problem


Alazia Bauer, Contributor

You start your morning by getting ready for the school day and catching a ride from your mom in her white chevy equinox, even though she had already told you no. You arrive at the front door and you meet up with your best friend in the cafeteria and walk to your locker. You take your warm jacket off revealing your shirt and pants. Your friend starts talking about your shirt, and where you got it. You start chatting and see the teacher walk towards you. The teacher starts talking to you in front of all your locker partners. He brings up the topic of your shirt and says “Goodmorning young lady. I am going to need you to put a sweatshirt on.” You give him an eye roll and scoff a bit. You go for the one sweatshirt you have with a very small Hauenstein label on the right chest area and he catches it. Instead of talking to you about the sweatshirt he points to the office and says “let’s go.” he then proceeds to take you to the office, and deal with it there and they make a phone call to mom and you know what’s about to happen.

On November 8, 2021, two female Sophomores, Sarah Todesco and Alexandra Groebner, started a petition at New Ulm High School to re-evaluate the school’s clothing dress codes.

The New Ulm High School 2021-2022 student handbook, District 521 states that students may not wear clothing nor hairstyles that: disrupt the learning of others, create health or safety hazards, result in school maintenance problems, prevent students from completing their best work, or have a relationship with gang and graffiti.

Within the section of the dress code, it states what is not allowed or appropriate for being in a school. Clothing that: reveals undergarments, reveals mid-section or excessive amounts of skin, is immodest and over-revealing. This also includes references to any sort of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, harassment, discrimination, profanity, or inappropriate sexual comments.

The petition was started due to girls feeling like they have been “disproportionately receiving warnings about showing excessive skin,” Todesco said. The petition was put in place to try and have the dress code re-evaluated to “make it equal for all genders and all bodies.”

With this being said, Assistant Principal Guentzel, the main point of contact of the policies, was asked if there was a lack in enforcing the dress code. He said, “Everyone, including myself, can do a better job of when we see it, we address it.” The school board is the ultimate determiner of the policies within the district. The faculty of the school is responsible for enforcing the policies including the dress code.

The plan is to bring their petitions, a “strongly-worded speech,” and other girls who are supporting, to a school board meeting to try and convince the board that the dress code currently in place is simply unfair to females and sexist.

When asked where the problem occurs in the dress code, Sarah Todesco said, “I feel that the dress code creates more issues than if a few inches of the stomach or a collarbone were exposed. These rules directly call out women and make them feel uncomfortable when pulled out of class or told in the hallway that their outfit is inappropriate. It seems unfair that a girl’s education is less important than a guy’s ability to keep his eyes to himself. A man’s inability to focus if a girl’s shoulders or midriff is exposed should be his problem, not the girl’s.”

When asked about how the dress codes help with a student’s school day, Guentzel said, “If it gets in the way of the students being able to continue on with their school day, like what’s on the front of a t-shirt, or what a student is wearing. We are here for the learning environment ultimately, and not put on a fashion show.”