One high school is cracking down on the High school girls in Minnesota have been asked to dress a little more modestly after one principal noted that tight leggings and yoga pants are leaving too little to the imagination.
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Minnetonka High School Principal David Adney emailed parents on Monday, asking them to talk to their daughters about wearing sheer leggings and curve-hugging yoga pants to school. In an interview with Yahoo! Shine, he was quick to say that his email was a request, not an ultimatum.
"This is not a ban on anything," he told Yahoo! Shine. "We're just trying to guide them to make better decisions for themselves."
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"We want them to strive for modesty," he added. "We can't define modesty for every family, but we can ask them to make good decisions that reflect well on their families."
Girls have been wearing yoga pants and leggings to school for years, Adney acknowledges, but in the past they'd pair the skin-tight legwear with tunics, jerseys, or long sweaters. "It's a fashion trend that has existed for a while, but has accelerated," he said. Now they've been coming into school wearing shorter shirts, exposing their legs, backsides, and more.
"Not all leggings are created equal," Adney pointed out, choosing his words carefully. "With Lyrca and Spandex, the definition can be severe, front and back."
One solution? Wear the leggings, but slip on a longer top. "Cover your butts up—I'm just going to say it straight up," Adney told the Star Tribune. "We're seeing too much."
Complaints about the overexposure came from female staffers, volunteers, and even other students, Adney says, prompting him send out the email request.
"On things that are going on in school, we try to address the kids directly, to be proactive," Adney said. "But with this, we didn't want to embarrass any girls, so we emailed the parents."
While some students are upset about the issue—"As long as they're not see-through, they should be allowed," freshman Carine Colwell told the Star Tribune—Adney says that plenty of people have thanked him for intervening.
"I've received about 100 messages in 24 hours, and only two of them were negative," he told Yahoo! Shine. "And those two said that it was highly sexist." (Boys at the school have also had their fashion choices scrutinized, he points out. Last spring, Adney put out an alert about revealing muscle shirts; this fall, he had to enforce a no-baseball-hat policy, and in years past baggy jeans have been a big issue—just as they were when he became the principal more than 10 years ago.)
This isn't Adney's first trend-related clash. In 2006, he gained national attention for cracking down on "grinding"—ultra-dirty dirty dancing—at Minnetonka High School, telling students that they should "dance like Grandma's watching" instead. Even then, rather than preaching to the kids or forcing them to sign pledges, he collaborated with them to create a series of hilarious videos about "the dangers of grinding."
When it comes to clothes, the Minnetonka High School handbook simply asks that clothing not be disruptive, offensive, or inappropriate. The goal is to instill in kids a set of high expectations, not to hound them with a set of fixed rules, Adney explained.
"It's about creating a culture," he said. If you build an environment where you outline expectations and encourage discussion, kids feel heard and respected. "It's not a freakish control thing."
The father of three grown daughters, Adney says he gets the girls' desire to be fashionable. "We don't want to be the clothes police, walking around with measuring devices," he said. "But it's not too much to ask you to keep your butts covered."