Woman claims school’s dress code targets her daughter’s religious beliefs.

It’s somewhat amusing how uppity some Christians can get when their (not so) subtle attempts to proselytize are disrupted by rules they don’t like. Be it taking down Ten Commandment plaques from Government buildings or, say, wearing shirts with religious slogans in violation of a school dress code. It seems that Highland High School in Indiana, like many schools across the nation, have implemented a new dress code requiring students to wear khakis and polo shirts and prohibits shirts with any slogans or logos on them. Teenager Brittany Brown decided to ignore that dress code by wearing a t-shirt promoting her Christian beliefs on four different occasions and was finally suspended on Monday as a result.

Naturally this has led her mother, Tracy Prochnow, to start playing the “poor persecuted Christians” card:

The mother of a student who was suspended for violating her school system’s dress code says the rules unfairly target religion, WRTV in Indianapolis reported.

Prochnow said the school may be violating her daughter’s rights, and she has asked the school board to change the code.

“I don’t believe it matters what she’s wearing—whether it be a T-shirt and jeans or polo and khakis—as to what she’s going to learn,” Prochnow told WRTV.

I’m no big fan of dress codes myself, though given what passes for fashion these days I think some regulation is in order, but she’s got a hard case ahead of her if she really wants to claim that her daughter’s rights are being violated. The courts have ruled on a number of occasions that students have a much more limited right to free speech in a school setting and that schools have a lot of leeway on determining what is an isn’t a reasonable dress code.

The front of Brittany’s T-shirt features a cross and the words “This Shirt Is Illegal In 51 Countries.” The back quotes the Bible’s Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God … the salvation of everyone who believes.”

“The school is basically saying I can’t wear a shirt that talks about Jesus or Christ or God or any religious type of T-shirt because we have to wear a polo,” Brittany said.

The school’s principal, Mark Finger, said the dress code doesn’t target religious beliefs.

“The policy states there are to be no logos or slogans on a shirt,” Finger said.

If the school had a policy that specifically and only limited the ban to shirts with religious messages on them then these folks might have a leg to stand on, but it doesn’t and they don’t. It’s a very reasonable policy and the only reason these folks are upset is because it prevents them from engaging in a silent form of preaching to others. Ah, but there’s an advantage to being part of the majority religion:

A city council member, Ollie Dixon, said he would work to change the policy. It wasn’t clear what changes he would favor.

I wonder if Mr. Dixon would be so keen to get involved if the shirt in question promoted an Islamic or Pagan message. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts he’d laugh them out of his office.

Smell that? That’s the stench of Christian hypocrisy at its worst.

28 thoughts on “Woman claims school’s dress code targets her daughter’s religious beliefs.

  1. There was something similar over here a couple of months ago- a ‘love waits’ pledger lost in court about wearing pledge jewellery when the school had a strict no jewellery policy. There was also a muslim girl who lost a uniform case (more of that later).

    School uniform over here tends to be the norm- indeed some schools are recently moving towoard a ‘smart’ appearance, even the less formal ones have minimum standards of a plain white polo shirt.

    Next week my 11 year old starts secondary school, and his uniform is white shirt, charcoal trousers, black or grey socks, tie, black blazer with school badge. Girls may sub a sensible skirt and white socks or opaque black tights.  I think jumpers or similar are bottle green- other schools have red or blue.  Even my youngest’s junior school has a similar uniform, though they can have polo shirts and no tie, and there is no blazer. 30 years ago, when I lived in London my uniform at 7 was a collar and tie, blue blazer, and cap!

    Varying from a uniform can get you punished, so if you sensible black shoes go west, you better have a note from your mum as to why you are wearing trainers- and you better get some new shoes pronto!

    Because of muslim dress codes, schools now have a muslim acceptable version for girls to cover the hair.  The girl in Luton last year wanted to wear a jilbab.  The school, Denbigh High, allows its female pupils to wear a headscarf known as the hijab and a tunic with trousers, known as the shalwar kameez. The jilbab is a longer version, and not part of the uniform, which was brought in consultation with local muslim organisations. 80% of the school is Muslim.

    This split the muslim community, but it seems that main stream religeous leaders support the school, and the girl may have been a put up to it by more militant family members, and/or a local organisation.

    The pledge ring girl immediately hed evagelists jumping to her defence- anti christian bigots in modern society, yadda yadda, moaning Muslims were allowed to wear hijab, but quite simply lost the case because the ring isn’t a recognised religeous symbol. A cruxifix on a chain may well have been different, but ‘love waits’ isn’t a religeon.  (Cue boy being dressed as Hitler by racist parents- “its a religeous statement, Hitler was avenging our lord for his murder by the Jews”)

  2. At the University where I work there is a similar issue going on.  The Marketing Department with the College of Business, instituted a dress policy of “Business Casual” for any students taking a Marketing class, or anyone in the Marketing Major.  Suddenly students, most of whom aren’t even in the major or taking any of the classes, started a huge uproar about it.  It even made the local papers.

    Students, parents, faculty, staff, and even outside business leaders have thanked and commend’ the rule.  See the thing is, professors don’t really like to squelch what little creativity and original thinking they can get out of students.  And the reasoning goes that students will be more comfortable if they wear what they want.  Thus able to be more creative, since they are in their “comfort zone”.  This is something I certainly agree with and companies like Google really show that idea to be true.

    But the problem is the students graduate and go out in the real world and get jobs at companies that aren’t like Google.  In fact most companies have dress codes, and policies.  Sometimes these rules may even be built into the culture of the organization and may be a “unwritten rule”.  And many of the students don’t realize what is acceptable dress.  And their business isn’t likely to approach and tell them, but just pass them up for promotions and raises.  That’s how it works in the business world and students need to understand this. 

    The university would be doing students a disservice if we didn’t teach them skills they need for the real world.  I know the following concept is hard for some people to grasp, but teaching should go beyond the state and federal standards, and what’s in the textbook.

  3. I bet even at google the people who actually deal with clients, banks and the money, rather than the cool neo hippy stuff wear smart.  Whats the phrase I’m looking for when people confuse cause and effect- a company suffers scruffy because the guy’s a genius. He’s not a genius because he is scruffy.

    I believe there have been studies done with two equally talented people behind desks to give advice, and test subjects favour the smart one- would you trust a finacial advisor who dressed ‘gangsta’

  4. First impressions are everything.  It sucks that someone who is the best worker in the world could not get a job because of first impressions, but that is how the world works.  You have to roll with the punches to make it nowadays.

  5. The whole thing stinks of wanting publicity. If you check out the story you’ll see that girl was caught breaking the dress code four times already. How long has school been in session? And how loudly would they be screaming about pro-Islamic shirts?

  6. The mother of a student who was suspended for violating her school system’s dress code says the rules unfairly target religion

    Translation: We’re pissed off that our daughter can’t advertise for the specific delusion we buy into, but we’d be even more pissed off if advertising for rival delusions or *gasp* atheist messages were allowed.

  7. The school is A good place to brainwash people into thinking we came from monkeys. And to make them into good little democrats and liberals By the time they get out of school. And they will vote for the party they where brainwashed to be. Oh,  what A good plan the school has. Start them when they are small. Lets control them make them into robots. Lets thank Clinton for starting the dress code thing!!

  8. Right back at you:

    “Homeschooling is A good place to brainwash people into thinking that the bible is literally true. And to make them into good little republicans and bigots. By the time they get out of home. And they will vote for the party they where brainwashed to be. Oh, what A good plan the homeschool has. Start them when they are small. Lets control them make them into robots. Lets thank Mommy for starting the dress code thing!!”

  9. Dotdot: considering the whole Libertarian movement can give thanks to it’s popularity from University underground movements, your statement was utterly ridiculous.  And since you give no facts or references to back your assertions I guess all we can do just assume your argument is ridiculous huh?

  10. These days I simply assume that anyone being homeschooled is
    A. Being molested
    B. Being abused physically
    C. A & B

    Anyone being sent to a private school is:
    A. Done to religiously indoctrinate them or else they have severe behavioral problems
    B. There because their parents don’t love them very much and just want them elsewhere.
    C. They’re being molested.
    D. They’re being abused.
    E. All of the above.

    I suppose it’s a little different for places like New Orleans where the private schools are more like the public schools, but I remain unconvinced that any institution or individuals which exist to seclude children from the social contexts of their peers and public scrutiny can really be up to any damned good.

    I would think that anyone wanting to thank anyone for school uniforms would look to the British before they bothered with Clinton, and probably to someone else that the British pulled the concept from before that – maybe Catholics?

  11. I think our uniforms has its roots in the veryformal dress codes of places like Eton and Harrow, where wing collars are still worn on some occasions.  Schools round here are moving to a slightly more formal dress code (ties, blazers etc) away from the polo shirts etc.It is seen as promoting discipline, cohesiveness and a sort of esprit d’corp- you and the school invest emotionally in each other.

    Dotdot- you are just silly. Compare western armies and the militias. Even out of combat (so no practical reason why) soldiers wear uniform.  When I lived in Plymouth you could easily spot an of duty marine- sharply dressed.

    Are the following pinko liberals
    Burger King
    etc etc

  12. mistermook… just fyi, I know many homeschoolers and none of them fit any of ur multiple choice answers.  Have u had experience in any of those answers?  Were you homeschooled?  Were you molested?  I’m so sorry if you were, my heart goes out to you.  Dotdot, I agree with you.  I am undecided yet on which side I am on, but I agree you are very right.  elwedriddsche, what the crap?  Homeschoolers don’t have a dress code.  they are at home… they wear what they want!  wow, some of you guys need to get out more.  back to the original topic, I would tell the girl to move to a different school if she didn’t like the polo’s.  Don’t make a big deal out of it all.

  13. i’m not saying that dotdot is intelligent.  idk even know the person.  I’m just saying that have a good point bcuz most of what they said is true in public schools.

  14. Wherever Heather was taught English wasn’t the place for it, if it can truly be accounted as having been taught at all.

  15. i’m sorry my english does fit your likens.  I’m a hick, and esp. on the internet I find no real reason to be real careful w/ my english.  sorry if that offends you. 

    Now to the school teaching us liberal ideas.  The first one that comes to the top of my mind would be the creationism vs. evolution debate.

  16. Heather- you writing is how present yourself on the web. Bad grammer, spelling and semantics says something about you, and how you are perceived.  You may be the greatest thinker on the planet, but if you present yourself sloppily then no will take you seriously. Scruffy dress, scruffy English sends a sublimbial message- this person does not care for detail- they can not be trusted.

  17. Is it any surprise that Heather demonstrates the symptoms of the woefully undereducated and is apparently one of the anti-evolution theory people?

    Heather’s problem is obvious: She’s not learning anything in school. Whether that’s her fault or the schools is hard to say given the available evidence.

  18. Heather: Now to the school teaching us liberal ideas.

    What is wrong with liberalism?
    How would you justify people taking non-liberal/intolerant stances?
    What can possibly be good about conservatism?

    If you want any hope of ‘converting’ me, pollitically or religously, you’ll have to explain why I should throw my support behind it

  19. I’m not trying to convert anyone.  I’m not trying to say whether or not what side I am on.  I am just stating that as a personal observation, in the schools, they do lean to teaching the more liberal side. 

    As for not being taken seriously, I honestly don’t care if anyone on here takes me seriously.  I am just stating my observations and opinions as like everyone else on here.

  20. Not everything you find on here is personal observations and opinions. You could certainly find much more looking back through the archives.

    And yes, reality has a well known liberal bias.

  21. Heather- What is meant by teaching has a liberal bias?  Do you mean teaching non biblical science (old Earth, evolution etc).  If so how is that liberal. My neighbour (and incidentally best man at my wedding) is pretty liberal, yet also a creationist.  I would class much of Jesus’ teachings as liberal. My wife’s Christian, but is liberal about gay rights, and was for many years a trade union activist. ***Dave is a Christian, but seems to be a liberal.

    The opposite of liberal is illiberal or repressionist, not conservative.  The opposite of conservative is not liberal, it’s progressive.

  22. Heather: I’m not trying to convert anyone.  I’m not trying to say whether or not what side I am on.  I am just stating that as a personal observation, in the schools, they do lean to teaching the more liberal side.

    What do you hope to achieve by telling us that opinion? To me it seems the only explanation is that you’re trying to influence ours, because what else would be achieved by it?

    It’s pointless to just state stuff/complain about something if you’re not going to try to change it. Otherwise it achieved nothing

  23. Last_Hussar: I’ve always been told that liberal is the opposite of conserative.  I’m not saying that to argue with you, I’ve just never heard that.  Gives me something to ponder now.

    As liberal bias, gay rights is pushed at my school.  (Not saying I have anything against gays.  Many of my friends are gays).  Many of our teachers are democrats and democrats are known usually for being labeled as “liberals” so therefore our teachers express their political beliefs a lot.  Also, our teachers present the Repulicans as being always conservative and tell us (not in these exact words) that they are more strict (more rules).  And as most of you know, many teens don’t really like the idea of more rules/less freedoms.

  24. I think all school pupil have to put on a white shirt and school tie. If a pupil leaver school and go to Colleg.e I think young people at College also have on a white shire with top button done up with a old school tie on at College the young people will look cool in white Shirt and a school tie at College.

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