Words by Elise Solé.
An American teacher has been placed on leave after shooting a video of himself saying “blame the girls” because “they pretty much ruin everything” in regard to the school’s dress code and its ban on athletic shorts.
Jared Hensley, the assistant principal and athletic director at Soddy Daisy High School in Tennessee, filmed the statement on Wednesday as part of the school’s news programme.
After stating that athletic shorts were banned at school, he said: “I know, boys, you’re thinking, ‘I don’t understand why, it’s not fair, athletic shorts go past your knees.’ I didn’t make the rules. Well, I kinda did. But that’s the rules.”
He added, “And if you really want someone to blame, blame the girls. ‘Cuz they pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code, they ruin — well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. … So, it’ll be like that the rest of your life, get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up, follow the rules.”
Hensley closed out by warning students to limit their PDA at school, saying: “…Just take that down a notch, K? Save some of that for the honeymoon…”
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, school community members were furious over Hensley’s remarks, posting the video on social media (the original video appears to have been pulled from YouTube).
Hensley and a representative from Hamilton County Schools District did not return Yahoo’s requests for comment. However, Superintendent Bryan Johnson sent a statement to Chattanooga news station WRCB TV, which read:
“As an educator, I believe that all students deserve a high-quality education. In Hamilton County Schools, we are committed to serving all students well. We have reviewed the video content. We find the comments about young women in this video inexcusable, as the sentiments expressed do not align with the values of Hamilton County Schools. The situation is under investigation, and this employee has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. We hold our employees and our leaders to a high standard, and these comments do not match the high expectations we have for our employees. We seek to prepare all children for success in life after high school and expect our employees to provide an atmosphere that will empower all children to reach their full potential.”
In August, stirring the public debate on whether school dress codes are biased against girls, principal Melanie Beatty-Sevier of Chicago’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep High School tried to draw parallels between how women dress and rates of sexual abuse.
“The dress code … as we already stated, there have been sexual abuse cases throughout the city of Chicago,” said Beatty-Sevier, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “These things are put in place to, … why, why should we allow students to dress provocatively?”
According to the paper, one parent and member of the local school council, Natasha Erskine, called out Beatty-Sevier on her comments: “The principal … made a reckless comment to blame victims and associate that with promiscuous dress.”
At the time, Christia Brown, a professor of developmental psychology and author of Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue, told Yahoo, “A statement like this reflects our societal belief that girls are the bearers of morality, whether it means accepting or rejecting a date or managing others’ sexual frustration. This, of course, is much of why the #MeToo movement was born.”
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