Brooklyn Tech students protest over dress code

Citing unfair enforcement of their school's dress-code policy and sexism, some Brooklyn Technical High School students tested limits with their clothing.

Junior Aniqa Tasnim led the protest at the Fort Greene school. Tasnim said she and hundreds of her classmates participated in the protest on Wednesday. They said larger girls and girls of color are reprimanded for their attire, but skinny and white students aren't. Boys are never reprimanded for their clothing, according to Tasnim.

"I think it's harmful to call and categorize a woman as 'distracting' or 'inappropriate' because not only does it lower their self-esteem, but it also prioritizes boys' education over girls' education," said Tasnim.

Teenagers at the school claim that school administrators have said to them "you're an embarrassment, you'll never get into college like that. No one will respect you at your job..."

Tasnim posted pictures on Facebook wearing a dress covered in comments like these. She said the comments are not only demeaning, but "racist, sexist and harmful."

Many of Tasnim's peers joined in by showing up to school on Wednesday wearing outfits that were in violation of the dress code in protest. 

The teens said they understand that a dress code is needed, but they questioned how fairly the dress code is enforced. Tasnim says it makes women cover up so boys don't get distracted. She thinks that this "PG" policy only works to put women down. 

"Honestly, I tried to look at their side," she said. "And I don't think it's valid. I think it's more about policing girls than protecting them."

School officials plan to meet with the student council, but students said they don't hold high hopes for a positive outcome.

The Department of Education wouldn't speak about the situation, but it said schools that don't have uniforms determine their own policies. According to the DOE, students can wear what they like as long as their clothes aren't distracting, offensive or dangerous, of if they interfere with the learning and teaching process.

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