It will take many voices to bring about change in the gender-biased way the Fargo Public Schools dress code is applied and enforced. Please consider lending yours.

Graphic that says "She Got Coded (Her Story)"

I believe dress-code enforcement in Fargo Public Schools is gender biased (see “The Alleged “Distractees” – Not Our Daughters & Sisters – Must Change“), and that the body shaming that comes with it is detrimental to my daughters, and their sisters as well as yours.

After many years of frustration, I decided to do something about it.

I created Facebook and Twitter pages and started sharing information about this issue from around the country on those platforms. I’ll be posting stories/examples from students and parents as they come in. I’ve also reached out to the North Dakota Women’s Network and two members of the Fargo School Board.

Both listened carefully, offered advice and promised to take next steps to address the issue. The district’s assistant superintendent gave me a call, as well. He, too, listened carefully, did not minimize the issue or placate. Instead, he promised to bring this up with school principals, with whom he meets regularly. They also asked for stories/examples from students, parents or guardians.

To be clear, #IAmNotaDistractionFargo is not criticizing or condemning school administrators or teachers as a whole. By and large, they do a good job of educating our children. Unfortunately, body shaming and inequitable interpretation/application of dress codes and policies are still issues in our schools.

Next Steps

All three officials asked me to share stories or examples of girls being “coded” unreasonably. I have a couple on the Facebook page, but we need more.

If you or your daughter or sister has been coded for wearing something you believe should be acceptable, please share the story on the Facebook page or by email to iamnotadistractionfargo@gmail.com. Your name will be kept confidential if that’s what you desire. And please be sure to follow the Twitter accountFinally, the Facebook and Twitter accounts contain posts with news about this issue from around the country. Please Like, Comment and Share if you feel compelled to do so, and use the hashtag #IAmNotaDistractionFargo.

It will take many voices to bring about this kind of change. Please consider lending yours.

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Author: Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m 51 years old, husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger and big-time reader. (If you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff.) A ginger, too (ergo the "Red"). I enjoy hanging out with my wife, watching the kids in their academic and athletic activities, writing, hiking and riding my mountain bike.

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