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Montclair, N.J. High School Students Say Dress Code Discriminates Against Girls

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some female students in Montclair, New Jersey say they were shamed in school for what they were wearing, and have called the school dress code sexist.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, the young women at Montclair High School called the dress code unfair, outdated and sexist. They stood up to the board of education at a meeting Monday night.

"This dress code basically tells us that our bodies are like these sexual objects that are here to distract the staff and the males," said student Mackenzie Thomas.

With warmer weather here, the students said the newly-enforced dress code targets females Some have even been sent home to change, and others pulled out of class and sent to the office – saying they were often shamed if their attire is deemed "unduly revealing or distracting" as stated in the online student handbook.

"(They) humiliated me in front of my peers; made me feel uncomfortable," one student said.

"Out of the 45-minute class, 30 minutes were spent with our teacher looking up and down the aisle sending girls out," added another student Sydney Battle.

"The dress code is completely distracting," said student Christine Templeton. "What we want to focus on is our education."

The dress code bans sleeveless T-shirts with an exposed arm area. Also forbidden are sagging pants or short skirts with exposed undergarments.

The dress code also forbids short shorts, and plunging necklines or back lines.

The rules apply to everyone, but even some male students admit they get away with breaking them.

"I broke the rules, and I should have been sent out for breaking the rules, but I'm a male and I didn't get sent out because, of course, I'm not distracting anyone," said student Amiri Bradley.

Parents at the meeting agreed.

"That don't give the school the right to point them out and demonize them for what they wear, because you break someone's confidence that way," a man said.

"It's exclusively directed at their sexuality," a woman said. "It's about how provocative they might be interpreted."

The students said they aren't opposed to a dress code, they just want one that's fair.

"Of course we see where they're coming from," a student said. "We're just trying to approach it in a way that's better for everybody together."

Both the superintendent and principal of Montclair High School refused CBS2's repeated requests for an on-camera interview. However, the principal told CBS2 he will be revising some of the language of the dress code and speaking with teachers about how to better handle the dress code violators.

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