SHREVEPORT, La. (KMSS/KTAL) – Female students planning on going to the Southwood High School prom no longer have to submit photos of themselves in their dresses to the principal for preapproval.
The requirement sent out by the school’s text notification system by Principal Kim Pendleton several days ago was directed at any female attending Southwood’s prom, including male students’ off-campus dates.
“As you begin shopping for your attire, please make sure you do not purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner,” read Pendleton’s message. “Also, make sure we do not see excess cleavage or skin. Prior to purchasing an outfit, I will need you to send me a picture of you in the outfit with your name and grade. Once I approve the outfit, you may purchase it. The approved outfit is the only one you will be allowed to wear to prom.”
The requirement drew criticism and stirred debate locally on social media, eventually making national news.
Pendleton said in a statement to NBC News that she implemented the policy after getting feedback from several staff members and parents concerning students dressing inappropriately for school-hosted events.
“In communicating the guidelines for appropriate conduct and dress, which are similar to what schools and districts require across the country, a decision was made to proactively work with families to ensure parents would not spend money on a dress which would be turned away for being inappropriate,” the statement said.
Pendleton also told NBC News that she had not denied any students’ attire and in fact had received positive feedback parents who are proud of the school for taking a stand to ensure prom is an encouraging, wholesome event.”
Nevertheless, the Caddo Parish Public Schools issued a statement Friday after meeting with Pendleton saying that “it is no longer a requirement for students to have preapproval for their formal dress prior to prom. Any student and parent who may have doubts are welcome to send in their photo or show the dress in person.”
Pendleton herself has not commented publicly since the policy reversal.