Sexualization, Sex Discrimination, and Public School Dress Codes

Meredith Johnson Harbach *

If you follow social media, you may have noticed the rash of reporting on battles over public school dress codes and their effects on and implications for girls. Complaints have been registered across the country, including here in Virginia. For example, in September 2014 at the Maggie Walker Governor’s School, administrators announced over the PA system that school officials would be performing a shorts-length spot check. Any girls found to be in violation of the rule would be forced to change; if ten girls broke the rule, all girls would be banned from wearing shorts for a day.

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* Associate Professor, University of Richmond School of Law. Thanks to Kimberly Jenkins Robinson for helpful comments during the drafting of this paper, and to John O‘Malley for research assistance. I also thank John Hogan and the editorial staff of the Richmond Law Review for their excellent work on this piece during the editing process.