A school insisted the girl students wear skirts. 3 girls fought the code in court — and won.

A North Carolina school required girls to wear skirts as part of their uniform. Two years ago, three female students decided to take a stand against the outdated code.

Keely Burks, 14, and the oldest of the three, created a petition asking her school to change its policy requiring the female students to wear skirts or risk punishment, which under the school’s policy could include calling parents, removing them from class and possibly expulsion. She herself had been punished for wearing shorts and was forced to “sit in the office all day” until her mother came to pick her up.

Burks explained that wearing skirts was a burden early on in her education. They kept her from sitting cross-legged like the boys, do cartwheels at recess or play soccer.


“My friends and I got more than 100 signatures on our petition, but it was taken from us by a teacher and we never got it back,” the eighth grader said in a post on the ACLU website. She continued by explaining that a few parents asked about changing the policy, but the school refused to hear them, claiming that making girls wear skirts promotes “chivalry” and “traditional values.”

The girls weren’t deterred. Instead of dropping the issue, they asked the ACLU to step in.

The human rights organization obliged, filing a lawsuit claiming the policy “violates the law and discriminates against girls.”

In their lawsuit, the group pointed out the obvious: that forcing girls to wear skirt was not only a distraction from academics, but also made it hard for them to engage in physical activity, sometimes resulting in discomfort and them being unnecessarily cold.

What gave the lawsuit weight was this is far from an isolated situation. Many girls across the United States are required to wear skirts as part of their school uniform.

However, the recent ruling on the ACLU’s case, courtesy of a North Carolina judge could change that.

“The skirts requirement causes the girls to suffer a burden the boys do not, simply because they are female,” wrote US District Judge Malcolm Harris on March 28 in response to the 2016 ACLU lawsuit against the Charter Day School in Leland.

“In the year 2016, I don’t think anyone should have a problem with young women wearing pants,” said Burks in the ACLU post. “There are so many professional women – businesswomen, doctors, and world leaders – who wear pants every day.”

Judge Harris found no merit to the school’s claims supporting the sexist uniform rules, slamming the policy in his ruling.

“The plaintiffs in this case have shown that the girls are subject to a specific clothing requirement that renders them unable to play as freely during recess, requires them to sit in an uncomfortable manner in the classroom, causes them to be overly focused on how they are sitting, distracts them from learning, and subjects them to cold temperatures on their legs and/or uncomfortable layers of leggings under their knee-length skirts in order to stay warm, especially moving outside between classrooms at the school,” he wrote. “Defendants have offered no evidence of any comparable burden on boys.”

While parents were supportive of the ruling, they were a little disturbed by the fact that getting the policy changed required an intervention by the legal system. “We're happy the court agrees," one of mothers, Bonnie Peltier, explained in a statement provided by the ACLU, "but it's disappointing that it took a court order to force the school to accept the simple fact that, in 2019, girls should have the choice to wear pants."

Hopefully this ruling will inspire other schools with similarly old-fashioned dress codes to reconsider their own policies, giving young women the same opportunities to dress as comfortably as their male counterparts. Gender equality may still have a long way to go, but giving young women the right to wear clothing on par with young men in 2019 should be a no-brainer.

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In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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