They argued that the attire of the then 13-year-old Demetra Alarcon was distracting the boys, even though she wasn’t showing anything inappropriate and it was over 32 degrees Celsius.
It all happened on a school day in 2017, when Demetra Alarcón, then 13 years old, attended Raymond J. Fisher High School in the city of Los Gatos (in California), wearing a short blue dress. However, in that class on August 28th (almost exactly four years ago), the teacher called her attention to it because it was too short and distracting to the boys. Thus, Demetra was forced to call her dad, Tony, who had to bring her jean shorts and a tank top.
“I asked Demetra to bend over and touch her toes, right in front of the administrator (…) And I said, ‘Nothing is hanging out. There’s nothing inappropriate. I don’t understand this dress code rule’ (…) But the administrator just said the clothes were not appropriate (…) She said the clothes were distracting to boys,”
– Tony Alarcón told Today–
As a result of the dress code, this father had to cover up his daughter when it was over 32 degrees Celsius. He found this to be extremely discriminatory and sexist because, while boys can avoid the heat by wearing shorts and shorter clothes, girls are forced to wear long and warm outfits. Not to mention, Demetra had been embarrassed and upset by this situation. Tony then decided to start a campaign to change the school’s dress code.
“They pull her out of class in front of everyone… She’s just a kid. She’s just 13. She’s not a sex symbol. She just wants to be comfortable and attend class and we’re not affording her that opportunity.”
– Tony recounted–
Arguing that parents should decide whether their children’s clothes are appropriate for school or not, Tony Alarcon expressed his concern about the teacher and administration’s words, since telling girls that their clothes are a distraction for boys could hurt them emotionally in the long run.
This all happened because of a handbook, which bans shorts with inseams of less than 10 centimeters, as well as strapless tops and tank tops. Tony sought to align this code with the California state code, which makes no mention of inseams or tank top straps.
“Fisher has a dress code policy, which is very specific with clothing. Most of the clothing mentioned is women’s clothing, such as sleeveless blouses and thin straps (…) You have to stand up for what’s right and that’s what I’m doing”
– Tony Alarcón told CBS News–
Subsequently, all requests from Tony and the other proxies were forwarded to Los Gatos Union School District superintendent Diana G. Abbati, who explained that “appropriate dress and grooming contribute to a productive learning environment,” falling in line with Demetra’s school’s stance. However, according to the latest news of the case, Raymond J. Fisher High School had organized a committee to review the school’s dress code.