Are leggings too revealing to wear to school?
The debate over the tight-
fitting pants, which have been the topic of controversy since the likes of Kim Kardashian first turned up in skintight spandex, has arrived in Sonoma County middle schools, and leggings are losing.
With less than two months left in the school year, administrators at several local schools are cracking down on the stretchy garments, telling girls to cover up the hip region or choose something different to wear.
"They are not pants," said Emily Dunnagan, principal at Petaluma's Kenilworth Junior High, where a storm of criticism and confusion erupted last week after the school warned girls their leggings could distract boys. The school instructed girls to wear leggings underneath other clothes that covered their hips.
Rincon Valley Middle School Principal Matt Marshall, chagrined even to have to broach the topic, instructed parents in February to make sure girls were wearing shorts or skirts over sheer or form-fitting leggings.
"You could see more than you wanted to see," Marshall said this week. "It was making some people uncomfortable, students and staff."
Though they differ slightly depending on the campus, school dress codes generally prohibit see-through clothing, sagging pants and other outfits that reveal undergarments or too much skin.
But some students seem stunned by the notion that leggings go beyond the line of decency.
"Aren't we in America?" asked Diana Figueroa, an eighth-grader at Santa Rosa Middle School, which is mulling new restrictions on leggings for next year. "We should decide whether we like it or not."
Sonoma County schools are not the first to wrestle with what Huffington Post style editor Jessica Misener once dubbed "leggings-pants-pocalypse." Schools in Minnesota, Vermont and Maryland already have waged high-profile battles.