School Punishes 5-Year-Old for Her 'Immoral' Sundress

Get ready for your common sense radar to explode into a thousand tiny pieces. A 5-year-old girl from Houston wore a sweet, pretty sundress to school—one that, like millions of other sweet, pretty sundresses—features—gasp!—spaghetti straps and exposes the shoulders. Her school's consequence for "immoral" shoulder exposure by a kindergartner? They made her wear jeans. Totally logical, right?

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Dad Jef Rouner says he was reluctant at first to let his little girl wear the rainbow sundress to school Monday. No, not because it was too "racy." I mean, look at the above photo—Jennifer Lopez could safely wear this to church. But because, like a good dad, he was concerned it might be too chilly yet for the dress.

When he went to pick her up at the end of the day, his daughter was dismissed from school wearing jeans and a T-shirt over her sundress. She explained to her dad that spaghetti straps were not part of the dress code and that they made her cover up.

Okay, fair enough. I mean, not really, it's actually insanely silly because of her age and the fact that she isn't enticing anyone who isn't a creepy lunatic to gaze upon her bare shoulders. But a school is entitled to make and enforce dress code rules.

But why the jeans? Rouner says he even remembered to make her wear shorts under the dress because it was gym day, so it's not like the school assumed she'd be more comfortable in pants while playing baseball.

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The Houston public school hasn't commented on this incident, so we can't say for sure what inspired them to make her cover up from head to toe on an 80 degree day, but allow me to throw out one guess.

They, like a lot of others, are allowing a few crazy perverts who sexualize young children to determine the appropriateness of certain articles of clothing based on how much attention they will attract, despite the fact that 99.9 percent of perverts are going to go about their perverted ways regardless of whether a girl is wearing a sundress or overalls and a long-sleeved Care Bears T-shirt.

This is a passive way of passing some of the responsibility of sexual abuse on to young girls and it's just plain wrong. I'm not slamming the school—they're doing what they feel is necessary to protect a student. But shouldn't the conversation revolve around why we feel this is necessary?

As a child, I spent summers on the beach buck naked until I was about 6. Granted, this happened in Italy, where adult women see no issue with exposing their breasts, but I have to say: I felt zero shame, nor did anyone ever say a word to me or my parents about child nudity. Everyone under 7 was naked and we might as well have been amoebas because who cared? Can you ever imagine that happening nowadays, on a U.S. beach? My mother would have been placed in handcuffs in a hot second.

The saddest part about this dad's story is that he now has to explain to his 5-year-old why her body is sinful, which was not a discussion anyone dreamed of having with me when I paraded my non-existent secondary sex characteristics around the surf at age 5. I'm sure he won't use those words and will go about it in a way that attempts to preserve her innocence, but how long before she figures out society needs for her to boil in jeans so that she doesn't tempt perverts? 

What do you think about the school forcing this 5-year-old to totally cover up because she was wearing spaghetti straps?


Image courtesy Jef Rouner/Twitter

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