Albany school district discriminates against girls wearing tracksuit bras

ALBANI – The Albany City School District applies its dress code in a discriminatory manner that may have violated the U.S. Constitution when it disciplines students wearing tracksuit bras, the New York Civil Liberties Union wrote in a letter to the area. Thursday.

NYCLU has asked the county to change its dress code and remove disqualifications given to 13 athletes last month.

“County officials appear to have discriminated against the dress code against female athletes – and especially against black girls and other colored girls – in a way that reinforces vicious racial and sexual stereotypes, potentially in violation of the Fourteenth and First Amendments to the US Constitution, Title IX of the changes in education since 1972 and the relevant state and local constitutional and legal protections, “writes NYCLU. “In addition, athletic removals from the Student Athlete County for wearing sports bras and speaking against his dress code may be inconsistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the corresponding protections in the New York State Constitution.”

In a written statement, Albany school principal Kauida Adams said the students were not punished for wearing sports bras, but for their “inappropriate behavior” after being told to wear shirts.

“None of the student-athletes involved in this issue received athletic removal because of their clothing or because they disagreed with parts of our code of conduct for students, which is a reference dress code,” she said.

Among the problems cited by NYCLU is that boys train without a shirt, while girls wear sports bras. According to the students, only the girls were told to wear shirts until they complained that it was unfair.

“Until this incident, the boys were routinely allowed to train without a shirt. “When the girls trained with their sports bras to prevent heat exhaustion and maintain comfort on a hot day, they were disciplined,” writes NYCLU. “Although the school staff tried to impose a similar rule on the boys after the fact, the boys were given a chance that was not given to them: the opportunity to wear shirts. The girls were ordered to leave the field quickly and were not allowed to wear shirts or return to training in clothing that the District deemed acceptable. This is clearly a different treatment based on gender. “

The school’s dress code is also wrong, writes NYCLU. NYCLU leaders asked the area to “revise its dress code to remove provisions that reflect and reinforce gender stereotypes.”

All “underwear” according to the dress code must be completely hidden from outerwear. District officials said sports bras are considered underwear.

But sports bras are “designed and often worn as sports outerwear during outdoor training,” writes NYCLU.

The students said that in the past they were routinely allowed to wear sports bras for training.

NYCLU also disputed one of the reasons why students should cover their sports bras with a shirt. The school district’s sports director is said to have said that sports bras can “distract” male coaches.

“These stereotypes reflect broad and archaic generalizations about the inability of boys and men to control their sexual impulses and the inability of girls to make their own clothing decisions that make them safe and comfortable,” NYCLU writes. County policies and practices prioritize the freedom of boys and men from hypothetical “distraction” over girls’ autonomy and physical comfort and well-being, which causes girls athletes to wear more layers of clothing despite hot weather to avoid control and additional disciplinary action. . “

Changes to the code of conduct, including the dress code, will be reviewed by the school board on July 7, with a vote scheduled for July 21. The student-athletes were invited to meet with the dress code committee, but were not present, said county spokesman Ron Lesko. However, the administrators made recommendations to the committee after a meeting with the students.

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