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Strapless dresses cause viral debate in Readington, New Jersey

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: May 01 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 02 2013 05:09:30 AM CDT

Stappless dresses cause viral debate

READINGTON, N.J. -

Straps, or no straps? It's a question a lot of teen girls are asking themselves heading into prom season. And now it's also a question for a New Jersey school board.

Readington Middle School's plan to ban strapless gowns from its eighth grade dinner dance has been a hot topic in Hunterdon County, and Wednesday night the school board was given the final say.

For the last 10 days, strapless dresses have been on the minds of a lot of people.

Readington Middle School Principal Sharon Moffet announced the style would be banned from the eighth grade dance in June.

Wednesday night the reason changed from being a distraction to teenage boys, to fear of a wardrobe malfunction.

"The board and also the administration have agreed with us that it's basically a wardrobe malfunction and it's an issue of safety," explain Board of Education President David Livingston.

After voting, and re-voting a total of three times, the compromise was to allow a single strap or clear or spaghetti straps to the four-hour dance.

"With the internet and social media the way it is today and all of the events, I changed my vote," Livingston said.

Some parents say it's not enough, calling the compromise a cop-out.

"They didn't mention dress length, they didn't mention backless," added parent Melissa May. "And I'm sorry, but there's more of a possibility of a wardrobe malfunction with a short dress."

Her 14-year-old daughter Kaitlin still hasn't found a gown that fits the new rules.

"I think that the style right now is strapless," she added. "And it's really hard to find what they're wanting."

About 15 community members were at the meeting. Many spoke calling the wardrobe debate a distraction and a bad example for the students.

"I really feel embarrassed to be a part of this district right now," said May. "I really do."

The board also decided to form a committee made up of parents, teachers, students and administrators to revise the current dress code. They're set to meet this summer and hope to have something in place by September.