The McInerney kids won't be going to St. Pius X in Aurora this year. Last month, their parents got an email from the St. Pius X principal outlining a new dress code that would require their four-year-old girl to wear a skirt to school every day.
"Pants and shorts are not allowed for girls in kindergarten and first grade," wrote principal Eileen Michalczyk. "Our world sends very confusing messages to our kids, telling them that they can choose their own gender. We work to help our kids embrace the gender God has given them at birth. One way to do this is to help them learn to dress for their gender. Let's face it, men and women dress differently, even if they are both wearing pants! By helping young girls be excited to be a girl and show that through how they dress, we are supporting God's work of creation of both male and female."
Not satisfied with the principal's response to her concerns about "the gender inequality and the blatant bigotry," Abby McInerney wrote the Catholic Archiocese of Denver about the policy...and got no response. But plenty of readers who saw the Westword Facebook post of our St. Pius X story responded. Says Katie:
I thought God put Adam and Eve in the garden naked. Clearly, they don’t give a damn about what we wear.Adds Justin:
Jesus never wore pants and most books identify him as a male.Notes Christina:
Purposefully discriminating against very young girls in order to indoctrinate them into their own submission. How is this a "school?!"But Christopher comments:
"Parents shocked that Catholic school has an old-fashioned worldview"Adds KJ:
Private school, private business and they make the rules. You can take your children and go elsewhere just like you did.Counters Chelsea:
So I grew up in Catholic school (from kindergarten all the way to my senior year in high school) and I NEVER was forced to wear a dress or jumper or skirt. My classmates chose to, but I always wore pants or shorts because that is what I feel comfortable with. I am much older now and I do not agree with how the Church views and handles things in current events. I feel as if they are trying to “mold” these young minds into images they see fit, rather then into the image of God… this breaks my heartSays Chris:
It's a private school and the parents can remove their kids if they don't like the policy.Responds Natasha:
And that's what they're doing. Parents don't want their young girls sexualized the way this school is. They are just kids.And Jennifer concludes:
Maybe they could start putting all of the brunette kids into one uniform color and the blonds into another, too. Really drive home categorizing people while disallowing them any individual expression. Sounds like a fun childhood.
The Archidiocese did respond to Westword when asked about the St. Pius X policy. "If a parent disagrees with a private school policy or a teaching of the Catholic Church, no one is forcing that upon them or their family," a spokesman said. "Families voluntarily choose to attend private Catholic schools. If it is not the right fit for them, they have complete freedom to go elsewhere," Haas says. "If parents ultimately do not desire an education for their child that aligns with the mission and values of the Catholic Church, we fully respect their right as the primary educators of their children to pursue other educational options for their family."
And yes, the McInerneys are sending their children to another school this fall.
What do you think of the St. Pius X dress-code policy? You can read the story here, then post a comment or share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.