Petition update

Formal Letter to the CPHS Administration and County Superintendent Sent

Lacey Henry
St. Peters, MO, United States

Feb 2, 2019 — 

The letter written below has just been sent as a formal letter to the administrators and superintendent. 

Dear Cumberland Polytechnic High School Administrators,

I write to you on behalf of the class of 2019 and all future classes. This is our formal request that you adjust your graduation dress code so that it is gender neutral and in accordance with the standards set by Title IX. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states that “...while dress codes may specify types of attire that are acceptable, these requirements should not differ based on students’ sex or their race.”

Also, the ACLU specifies that “...under federal laws protecting against discrimination in education, Title IX and the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee, schools can’t base either a dress code or its enforcement on sex stereotypes - generalizations about what types of clothing or appearance are appropriate for a boy or a girl. For example, a dress code can’t require girls, and only girls, to only wear skirts or dresses and boys, and only boys, to wear pants or a jacket and tie. The same goes for ceremonial events and special occasions, like prom, yearbook photographs, or graduation.” (Five Things Public Schools Can and Can’t Do)

You can click on this link ( that leads to the petition started by myself at the request of the student body. It has been signed by more than 440 people not only within our community but globally. We have also received support from local organizations and advocacy groups who are monitoring the situation. 

The Cumberland County School System has a long history of denying young women and minorities their rights to gender-neutral and non-discriminatory dress codes. State news agencies such as WRAL have covered stories as far back as 2006 when Douglas Byrd High School went so far as to ban female students from attending the commencement ceremony for wearing pants instead of dresses. 

(Fayetteville Senior Misses Graduation Because Of School's Dress Code)

(Cumberland Schools Change Graduation Dress Code for Female Students

Through your dress code for graduation you violate our rights as students and undermine the constitutional right of equal treatment for all. We are calling on you as leaders in our community to do the right thing by your students and recognize and respect our differences by making a meaningful change this year and going forward. 

Lacey Henry

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