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HS principal to female prom attendees: Send me a photo of you wearing your dress before buying it — I'll decide if it's appropriate


'Way to perpetuate rape culture'

Charles Schelle/Bradenton Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Kim Pendleton began her job as principal of Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the beginning of January:

And it appears she's starting off her tenure with a bang.

What's going on?

According to KTAL-TV, Pendleton sent a message directed primarily at female students planning to attend the school's prom, saying she's pre-approving all dresses and will do so via photos of the female attendees wearing their chosen attire.

Here's Pendleton's message, the station said:

This message is for any female attending Southwood's prom. Boys, this also applies to your off-campus dates. As you begin shopping for your attire, please make sure you do not purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner. Also, make sure we do not see excess cleavage or skin. Prior to purchasing an outfit, I will need you to send me a picture of you in the outfit ... with your name and grade. Once I approve the outfit you may purchase it. The approved outfit is the only one you will be allowed to wear to prom.

What has been the reaction?

As you might imagine, Pendleton's message has raised some ire with those who don't think she should have that kind of authority.

Jakarius Simpson's sister is a junior at Southwood, and he told KTAL the new policy is "totally wrong" and that parents and students should be making that call.

NBC News noted some negative comments on Facebook about the new rule as well.

"Once again the blame is placed solely on the female," one commenter said, according to the network. "Way to perpetuate rape culture. Smdh"

"This is such bs," according to another Facebook user's comment, which added that Pendleton is overstepping her bounds, NBC News reported.

However, a grandparent of one Southwood female student told KTAL that the principal's actions wouldn't be necessary if parents hadn't abdicated their responsibilities.

"As a grandparent, I'm kind of from the old school, back in the day," Albert Bryant told the station. "I can understand because there are some young ladies that are raising themselves more or less, and they can get a little bit provocative."

While Kimberly Theriot's 14-year-old girl doesn't attend Southwood, the mom told NBC News she'd back such a policy if it were implemented at her daughter's school.

"It is a shame that the principal has to even do this, but do you know WHY she has to do this? Because the parents of these girls WONT do it!!!" Theriot wrote on Facebook, according to the network.

NBC News said it tried reaching Pendleton by phone and email for an interview and was referred to the board for Caddo Parish Public Schools, which didn't immediately return the networks' request for comment about the policy.

Pendelton's Twitter account on Thursday came up as protected, but it isn't clear if that status is connected to outcry over the principal's prom dress mandate.

Anything else?

KTAL said students will have a chance to express concerns about the prom dress policy at an upcoming assembly, citing a Tuesday statement in response to the station's request for comment:

In April, Southwood will host their annual prom and school administration has taken a proactive approach of asking parents for photos ahead of their upcoming event. It is a school-level decision for all formal dress to be approved prior to the event. Southwood will host an assembly for students only to address dress code guidelines and give an opportunity to raise questions and concerns.
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