High School Under Fire for Making Students Sign Prom Dress Code Contract

A high school student says that her school’s dress code for prom unfairly targets female students.

Ceres High School in California requires its students to sign a contract, which includes a dress code, before they can attend prom on April 16. The contract bans dresses that are low-cut, backless, expose the midriff, or have a high slit. But Nada Abdo, a senior at the high school, is struggling to find a dress that isn’t deemed inappropriate according to the dress code.

Nada Adbo says the prom dress code for females is too strict. (Photo: CBS13)

Abdo says that last year she was nearly kicked out of prom since the upper back of her dress had a sheer black panel. “You can barely see through the black, but I was still told to cover up,” she told CBS13 on Feb. 9. This year, Abdo chose a pink prom dress and brought it to school for approval, but was told the slit in the upper back was too wide. “My parents are Arab American, so my parents are already very strict,” she said. “So I feel if my parents will let me wear a dress, they shouldn’t have any problem with it.”

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She added: “We’ve been looking online, but a lot of the dresses conflict with the code. I don’t know what to do, especially since I’m plus-sized. I have an even more narrow set of dresses that I can choose from.”

Abdo, left, in her prom dress last year. (Photo: CBS13)

Abdo told CBS13 that the prom dress code is more strict for females than for males, but Jay Simmonds, assistant superintendent for Ceres Unified School District, told Today on Thursday that the guidelines for prom attire include rules for both genders. He noted that the dress code also includes restrictions on shorts and denim. “You would be astounded at what some of these ladies have worn to prom,” he told Today. “I think a lot of parents respect what we’re doing here.”

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Simmonds said he hasn’t heard of any students complaining about the dress code in the contract until now and noted that there is an “appeals process” for students who want to argue their case to wear a certain outfit to prom.

(Top photo: Getty Images)

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