Have you ever worn leggings? Then you don't belong in class, says this Florida principal.

The biggest problem plaguing American high schools? Leggings, apparently.

Yesterday, a group of high schoolers were, um... I’m sorry. What was I saying? Oh yeah. So there’s this high school in Florida. They did ... this thing...

OK, this is getting embarrassing. I'm sorry, I'm just so distracted. I'm sure you understand.


You see, I'm writing this article from a coffee shop, and there are people wearing leggings here. LEGGINGS.

You know, those stretchy pants that people (mostly girls and women) wear on their legs. You may have heard about them in the news, because they've been scandalizing high school administrations across America.

Many schools insist that if girls wear leggings, their male colleagues — upstanding young citizens who would otherwise be diligently focused on their studies — will only be able to concentrate on their female classmates' bodies.

And yesterday, the curse of the distracting leggings struck again — this time, in Pensacola at Booker T. Washington High School.

A fed up student posted this photo on Facebook, which has been shared widely.

"Up until THIS MORNING we were allowed to wear leggings and without any prior warning every girl wearing leggings was sent to the office and they arent giving warnings, theyre SUSPENDING us for 10 days if we cant get a change of clothes or get checked out. Some of us CANT go home right now and how were we supposed to know anyway? They said we are a distraction for how we dress and we are taking away from people getting education. The only people who are getting their education taken away are the females. They said it was for boys in violation of dress code too, but there wasnt a single boy up there and I promise you there were just as many boys sagging their jeans as there were girls in leggings. Thank you for telling us that females actually arent equal to the males at Washington High School." — Amelia Martinez

According to students at the school, teachers were instructed to send all students wearing leggings to the principal's office. "Yesterday morning our principal came over the PA system. He began to talk about dress code, focusing mainly on the female body," a Washington student, Alexsys McClellan, told Upworthy.

"He told every teacher to send whoever was wearing leggings to him or the dean," she added.

An estimated 80 female students were pulled from class for wearing leggings.

Can you believe it? There were that many distractions, just walking around the school in front of everyone — "distractions" who were going to class, reading books, perhaps even studying for the SAT.

Some of the students had to call their parents and ask them to bring a change of clothes to the school. "We were there for over an hour just to deal with wearing leggings," another student told the Pensacola News Journal.

Washington High Principal Michael Roberts spoke to local radio show 1620 News Radio about the incident. "Today, sir, there was no change in the dress code. There was just enforcement of the dress code," he said. You can hear the rest of the interview here.

Within hours of the announcement, students began posting on Facebook about their disappointment with the school's decision — and they decided to take action.

"This is honestly way more distracting than leggings. That has been the only thing we have been talking about in every class," wrote one student, who should maybe consider a future career in school administration.

"I'm tired of having to change my life around to fulfill the needs of men," another girl posted. "I wake up every morning to come to a school to learn."

One student even created a Change.org petition, and McClellan wrote a letter to the school board.

The double standard is not lost on students at Washington High School. Photo by Alexsys McClellan, used with permission.

And women aren't the only ones calling out the administration. McClellan said lots of male students at Washington aren't too happy with the idea that girls should be held to different standards either.

"I'm very proud of them and how they've come together and helped us girls," she said.

"What's really distracting?" Photo by Alexsys McClellan, used with permission.

"The issue is important because we do not want to live in a society anymore where women are judged and lowered because of their gender," she said.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Alexsys.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

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A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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