Feeling a little nostalgic for the 1950s? You might want to consider moving to Chapin, South Carolina, where the high school requires all female students to wear a dress to graduation.
Or did require girls to wear dresses until a gutsy senior named Chelsea Sarvis called attention to the shockingly old-fashioned practice. Chelsea is a popular senior who was awarded the “Heart of Chapin” for her school spirit and commitment to athleticism by the same principal who initially refused to let her graduate if she wore pants to the ceremony.
It’s clear from the principal’s statement about the matter that his insistence on dresses is simply clueless. In his defense of the school dress code, he pointed to the fact that there has never been a complaint in 25 years—because we all know that the status quo is always right!—and insisted that this is only a matter of “looking nice.”
“If a young man showed up in flip-flops and shorts, and said I wanted to walk, we’d say no you can’t.” How exactly are dress slacks and nice shoes, which Chelsea wants to wear, equivalent to flip-flops?
Chelsea made the same point herself to local news outlets, spawning a wave of angry emails and ultimately pushing Principal Satterfield to cave.
“If I had to walk across the stage in a dress, I’d be completely miserable and that’s not how I want to leave high school,” Chelsea said. Thanks to her willingness to challenge an archaic practice, she and numerous other future graduates will be able to wear what makes them comfortable, not what some 25-year-old rule deems “appropriate.”