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School tells girls: 'Please leave something to the imagination.' How about please leave girls alone?

A South Carolina high school bumbled into an area I wish schools would leave alone – how young women dress.

No, this is not another crazy dress code policy. (I am still shaking my head over the Kentucky high school that told girls they could not show collarbone.)

This is a homecoming poster designed to deliver a witty message about appropriate dance attire. No matter intent, the implied message – that girls need to cover up for fear of discombobulating their male classmates – is wrong. Schools have to stop holding girls responsible for what boys do or think.

I have run several photos of perfectly reasonable prom dresses that somehow discomforted an adult or two. We once believed a flash of female ankle would distract and disturb young men. But ankles and knees and upper arms have increasingly been bared without riots in school hallways.

Hardly a week passes without a social media firestorm over some 16-year-old girl somewhere being suspended or sent home for something thousands of other kids wear every day. Dress codes tend to be inconsistently enforced and consistently directed at girls.

Don't schools and school officials have better things to do than measure hemlines or count holes in jeans?

Here is the high school poster provoking social media criticism this week. What do you think?

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.