Blizzard Drive-By

We got the car out. Finally. We were incredibly thankful to Mr. Jackwagon for rolling down his window and scolding us about the vehicles pulled off to the side with their hazards on. In blizzard conditions.

Dear Mr. Supreme Jackwagon:

You know who you are.

You’re the guy who just drove past me and four other people who were trying to get a car unstuck at the entrance to a side street right off of 17th Avenue South, Fargo.

In blizzard conditions.

You’re the guy who did not stop to help. You’re the guy who, instead, took the time to lower your power driver’s side window and yell, in a menacing voice as you drove on by, “Hey, you can’t just park your cars in the middle of the street!”

Continue reading “Blizzard Drive-By”

#IAmNotaDistraction – New Letter to Editor

Letter to the Editor of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., about dress code enforcement in Fargo Public Schools, in response to a letter by Keith Berg from 11/27/18

The problem is not the dress code itself, it’s how it’s written

by Sheri McMahon
Letter to the Editor, The Forum, Fargo, N.D.
Nov. 28, 2018 (online 11/27/18)

Regarding Nov. 27th letter by Keith Berg about a parent’s challenge to the Fargo Public School dress code:

Mr. Fredricks’ objection to the dress code is not that there is one, but how the dress code is written. There are some sections which provide mostly objective, gender-neutral prohibitions such as banning ads for substances illegal for minors to use, coats in class, and so on. But the section he wants to address lists items most likely to be worn by girls and carries an implicit shaming message regarding girls’ bodies. It also includes reference to “any item deemed inappropriate by administration” which also creates a subjective standard.

The code contains no references to clothing that might be inappropriate but more likely to be worn by boys rather than girls. The catch-all section regarding any clothing considered “distracting” also leaves enforcement wide open to subjective interpretation.

Model dress codes have been developed, ranging in degree of what clothing is permitted (e.g. some school districts are OK with exposing the midriff, others are not), which are much more objective and avoid the gender-implicit language and application of dress codes such as the one Fredricks opposes. They also objectively define what is too short, too tight, too loose. Such codes have been established in many schools and are worth considering by the district.

Positive Feedback on #IAmNotaDistractionFargo

Here are comments on Facebook regarding The Forum’s story about #IAmNotaDistractionFargo, published on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.

Another Side to the Dress Code Story Reaction

Ashley – Oh my gosh, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo), this is sooooo amazing. This is why it’s so important to speak up. Thank you for putting a spotlight on this issue!!! (We) are both grateful to you. (flexing bicep, clapping hands, double hearts)

Becky – Awesome

Brittlee – This is amazing! (three hearts)

Elizabeth – (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo), thanks for this. The “exposing of under garments” bit seems to target boys who sage their pants… Black kids.

Heidi – Hello! Let me know if I can help in any way. My daughter (now 10) was made to cover up her spaghetti strap dress 2 years ago. Very frustrating! She was only 8 at the time.

Jill – This is so awesome!!! I’ve always told our boys that if they are “distracted” it’s their problem and to fix it. I also hate that it’s ok for their cheerleaders to wear what they wear and that’s ok

Jodi – Go, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo)!

John – Rock on, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo). Rock. On. (horns up)

Kris – Oh heck yes! Keep it up dad! (smiley face, flexed bicep)

Lisa – Cool! So we can expect high schools to change their girls volleyball uniforms to something more modest, right? I find the double standard disturbing. In class, a girl with a skirt that is too short is determined to “be distracting to the learning process” and told to interrupt HER learning to go home to change. After school, this same girl is told to put on a volleyball uniform that is not much longer than her underwear and go out to entertain the students and parents of the same school. I think body and clothing shaming are disgusting. I think the only time a woman’s clothing choice should be discussed is to ask whether or not she is warm enough.

Lisa – My daughter was called down to the principal’s office during class and made to put on a large t-shirt over what she was wearing and then go back to class. I bought her clothing and nothing was ever offensive and not MOM approved. She took after me and had God-given gifts (if you know me, you know what I mean) but for them to pull her out of class and embarrass her was just too much. Needless to say, there was a discussion with West Fargo High School.

Mia – Love this!! (flexing bicep)

Mike – Way to go

Paul – Good initiative (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo).

Shana – I could go on and on about this. THANK YOU so much for your hubs taking the lead and addressing it. Dress code policies really do affect females way more.

Shereen – Great conversation. Thank you!

Thank you all for the support.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

#IAmNotaDistractactionFargo Rebuttal

Mr. Berg begs to differ. What do YOU think? Good, bad and ugly, all opinions are welcome.

What do YOU think about the Fargo Public Schools dress code and enforcement?

Mr. Keith Berg, Fargo, N.D., has taken exception to the assertions I made in the story in The Forum this past Saturday regarding gender-biased dress codes and dress code enforcement.

So, what do YOU think?

All opinions are welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

 

Fargo Newspaper Features Effort to End Body Shaming in Local Public Schools

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo invites anyone and everyone to share their own stories about themselves, their kids, their siblings or their friends being “coded” in a Fargo Public School.

Traction for #IAmNotaDistraction

The front page of today’s edition of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., features a story about the local effort to get rid of gender-biased dress code policies and enforcement, a.k.a., body shaming, in local schools. The story is also online.

IV Words first wrote about this in “The Alleged Distractees – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change,” and has provided several updates since.

Two parents have already shared stories of their daughters being coded following publication of the story.

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo invites anyone and everyone to share their own stories about themselves, their kids, their siblings or their friends being “coded” in a Fargo Public School.

You can do so on the Facebook page, through a direct message on the Facebook page or by emailing iamnotadistractionfargo@gmail.com.

Depending on the outcome of the FPS process to evaluate and change the dress code and dress code enforcement, the stories might be needed to continue the effort to end body shaming in schools.

Thank you for your support.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo

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.

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.

Continue reading “#IAmNotaDistractionFargo”

The Alleged “Distractees” – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change

Each year, Fargo Public Schools (FPS) officials tell our daughters – sometimes explicitly, often implicitly – they will be a “distraction” to other students and teachers if they wear spaghetti-strap tops that are “too revealing,” pants that are “too tight” or skirts that are “too short.”

Gender Bias Needs to Be Removed
from Dress-Code Enforcement
in Fargo Public Schools

Each year, Fargo Public Schools (FPS) officials tell our daughters and their sisters – sometimes explicitly, often implicitly – they will be a “distraction” to other students and teachers if they wear spaghetti-strap tops that are “too revealing,” pants that are “too tight” or skirts that are “too short.”

The “too” statements are in quotation marks because they’re descriptors with relative meanings. “Too” whatever depends on who is passing judgment.

If girls wear any of these, or other undefined pieces of clothing, they “get coded.” Continue reading “The Alleged “Distractees” – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change”

Putting the Shoe on the Other Foot

What if it had gone down like this, instead?

“Three Somali-American women were recorded Tuesday, July 25, threatening a lone white woman in the Walmart parking lot on 13th Avenue South in Fargo because she parked too close to their car….

Woman

What if it had gone down like this, instead?

“Three Somali-American women were recorded Tuesday, July 25, threatening a lone white woman in the Walmart parking lot on 13th Avenue South in Fargo because she parked too close to their car.

“‘We’re gonna kill all of ya,’ one of the three Somali-Americans said to the woman, who recorded the encounter with her mobile phone from inside her car. ‘We’re gonna kill every one of you (expletive) Christians.’

Continue reading “Putting the Shoe on the Other Foot”

INVALUABLE: That’s the Real Answer, Mr. Commissioner

Fusion of Smiles, Languages & Colors Gets Us Back on Our Feet

170524_Invaluable-1

No matter how you slice it, surgery is no fun. More to the point, it’s no fun no matter how they need to slice you. 

Painful stuff. Recovery is no walk in the park, either. After nearly eight days in recovery at Sanford, I can say this with certainty. 

I also can say the people who took care of me are diamonds, immigrants from across the United States and the world, each with a dazzling smile worth a million bucks.

Continue reading “INVALUABLE: That’s the Real Answer, Mr. Commissioner”

No tight pants. How about NO victim blaming, instead?

If the ’50s were calling, the Devils Lake Public Schools phone would be ringing. That’s where officials have enacted a ban on girls wearing jeggings, leggings, tight jeans and yoga pants.

The 1950s called. They want their discriminatory dress code back.

141001_1950s-No-Tight-Pants

Bad joke. I wish the news out of Devils Lake, N.D., today were just a bad joke, too.

If the ’50s were calling, the Devils Lake Public Schools phone would be ringing. That’s where officials have enacted a ban on girls wearing jeggings, leggings, tight jeans and yoga pants.

Continue reading “No tight pants. How about NO victim blaming, instead?”