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NYCLU accuses Albany schools of applying dress code in a discriminatory manner

Jun 24, 2022 12:30 am

Kathleen Moore is reporting for the Times Union in a letter to the Albany City School District, the New York Civil Liberties Union has alleged the district applied its dress code in a discriminatory manner that may have violated the U.S. Constitution when it disciplined students who wore sports bras at track practice. The NYCLU asked the district to change its dress code and expunge the suspensions given to 13 athletes last month. The NYCLU made the point that boys were practicing shirtless while the girls wore sports bras, but according to the students, only the girls were told to put on shirts until they complained that it was unfair. “It appears that district officials have discriminatorily enforced the dress code against girl athletes — and particularly against black girls and other girls of color — in a manner that reinforces invidious race and sex stereotypes potentially in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Title IX [9] of the Education Amendments of 1972, and corresponding state and local constitutional and statutory protections,” the NYCLU wrote. In a written response, Albany schools Superintendent Kaweeda Adams said the students were not punished for wearing sports bras, but for their "inappropriate behavior" after they were told to put on shirts. "None of the student-athletes involved in this matter received an athletic suspension because of their attire, or because they expressed disagreement with the portions of our Student Code of Conduct that reference dress code," she said. The school’s dress code is also in the wrong, the NYCLU wrote, asking the district to “revise its dress code to eliminate provisions that reflect and reinforce gender stereotypes.” Changes to the district code of conduct, which includes the dress code, will be reviewed by the school board on July 7, and a vote taken on July 21. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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