Recent events in California and South Dakota illustrate perfectly the school gender conundrum.

Students at Buchanan High School in Fresno, California, are protesting the school’s dress code after the local school board voted against recommendations to allow boys to have long hair and earrings and against removing language in the code that says dresses and skirts are for girls. Students switched gender norms for a day following the school board’s decision.

Some students say that the dress codes are “sexist or non-inclusive to transgender students and those who don’t conform to one gender.” According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s 2013 National School Climate Survey: “Nineteen percent of the 7,800 students surveyed in the middle and high schools across the country said they were prevented from wearing clothing deemed ‘inappropriate’ based on their gender.”

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