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Boston Latin Students Say New Dress Code Is Sexist, Targets Minorities

BOSTON (CBS) – Students at Boston Latin School say their new dress code is sexist and tends to target minorities. The new dress code limits how short shorts and skirts can be and prohibits gang-related clothing.

"The message I hope to send while we're in here is that the business of education can coexist with a woman choosing what she wants to wear," said student Liliana Severin.

Severin, 17, says the dress code at Boston Latin School has some students upset because they feel it can discriminate against female students and minorities. The current code bans several items including see-through garments, spaghetti straps, hats and gang-related colors.

Liliana Severin
Boston Latin student Liliana Severin (WBZ-TV)

The list originally included leggings, which is what freshman Ella Hosford wore Monday. She thinks they were banned because, "they are kind of tighter and so it can be misconstrued."

Over the weekend 500 students signed a petition led by Severin to ask school officials to reconsider the dress code. Monday morning, Headmaster Michael Contompasis met with some of those students and came to an understanding.

"I've indicated and made it clear that leggings are appropriate," Contompasis said.

Boston Latin Headmaster Michael Contompasis (WBZ-TV)

Boston Latin has had a very challenging year regarding racial tension, Severin feels telling students what colors to wear may be an issue.

"It's hard to tell what's a gang and what's not and that will target some students of color more than it will target white students and that could lead to conflicts in the future," Severin said.

"We agreed on most of these issues, we agreed also to disagree about a couple of things," Contompasis said.

Headmaster Contompasis has asked several students including Severin to join a new committee to help rewrite a new comprehensive Boston Latin code policy that will go into effect next year.

"I'm happy and I think it's a step in the right direction," Severin said.

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