James Madison High School principal Carlotta Outley Brown made headlines in early April after a parent publicly
The complaint prompted Brown to formalize a dress code for parents, which banned adornments including hair bonnets, shower caps and hair rollers, as well as prohibiting clothing such as low-cut tops, leggings, excessively torn jeans, sagging pants and Daisy Dukes. Critics claimed the dress code was classist and insulting.
James Madison High School principal Carlotta Outley Brown defended her controversial decision to create a dress code for parents attempting to gain access to the school
Brown (second from right) said that the dress code was necessary to set a good example for impressionable students and help them learn ‘what is right’
‘I felt the need to enact the dress code because it was an educational environment, a place of learning,’ Brown told
Brown said that the woman who complained was turned away from the school because she was wearing a ‘nightshirt’ and that it evident ‘that she did not have anything on under her garment.’
Prior to this woman, however, Brown said that she had been seeing an increasing number of parents arriving at the school wearing eyebrow-raising attire.
One mom, Brown said, ‘came in with a see-through shirt and you could clearly see her breasts and her nipples.’ Meanwhile, another mom had her thong underwear visible above her pants.
Brown said the parental dress code rules, which were sent out to school parents in a letter, were necessary because ‘Parents are their children’s first teacher’ and that formalizing the rules would ‘ensure that they know how to conduct themselves.’
Brown was criticized for sending out a memo detailing what items of clothing and headgear parents would be banned from wearing while attempting to get onto school property
Brown’s (left) dress code was deemed classist by some parents and fellow educators. Zeph Capo (right), president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, was a vocal critic of the ban
She said that these rules were not meant to ‘prohibit them from their expression’ and that they only applied to parents looking to get inside the school. Parents were free to wear whatever they wanted in the carpool lane when dropping off or collecting their kids.
Among the more vocal critics of Brown’s dress code rules was Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.
‘Who are you to judge others who may not have the same opportunities that you do? Having a wrap on your head is not offensive. It should not be controversial,’ Capo told the
Brown told Inside Edition that the complaining mom’s head scarf wasn’t the problem and said that while there was nothing ‘wrong’ with a hair bonnet, they have a time and a place.
She noted that parents wouldn’t wear hair bonnets to places like church or a night on the town, so they shouldn’t wear them at school, either.
‘This is a professional place, where learning is taking place,’ Brown said. ‘A hair bonnet is permissible in the home, with your family. It’s not permissible in the school setting.’
Brown added that its up to adults to show children ‘what is right, what is correct, and what they need to do when they go different places. For example, you don’t wear a swimsuit to school, you wear it to the beach.’
Brown became principal at James Madison High School earlier in this current school year, becoming the school’s fourth principal in five years, according to the Associated Press.
Prior to this posting, she was the principal at a Houston elementary school that previously received one of the country’s highest academic honors. At the time, Brown told a U.S. Department of Education publication that she had been concerned that parents were showing up in ‘inappropriately informal dress.’ The publication noted that she then told those parents that ‘they may not appear at school so dressed and firmly turned them away, as she did any parents using inappropriate language on school grounds.’