Why do parents send their children to Catholic schools? The answer used to be easy: to train them in the Catholic faith. Now? The answer is as likely to be because the academics are better than public schools or that they are safer or maybe just because that’s where the parents went to school.
Another Catholic school controversy proves the point. Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, PA has instituted a dress code for its prom: “Women’s gowns may not be extremely short, have an extremely low cut front or back, have any excessively high cut slits, have overly revealing midriffs, or be inappropriately revealing – giving the illusion of nudity. Gentlemen must be in formal attire: tuxedo or complete suit coat, dress pants (no shorts), dress shirt and tie.”
The school has asked that each girl email a picture of her dress to a school authority for approval.
Anyone who has observed how young girls dress these days won’t be surprised at the necessity for these guidelines. Catholic parents especially should be happy that a school cares enough to establish these rules. But, of course, at the school this has caused controversy. Opponents of the policy have put a petition online. The petition refers to the regulations as “antiquated and unreasonable restrictions” and complains that the policy was posted too late because some students have already bought gowns. When I checked the petition today there were 255 signers.
Out of curiosity I went to the Delone Catholic High School website. It is interesting to see how the school presents itself. “As a diocesan secondary school, Delone Catholic serves students of all faiths in Grades 9 through 12,” they tell us. Can you imagine any other religious school beginning its presentation that way? The best the school can do in describing its teaching philosophy is to say that they offer “students a program of studies and activities designed to provide them with diverse experiences which will equip them to recognize and respond to the Truth.” How about teaching them the Truth as in the tenets of the Catholic faith?
Is it no wonder that on an occasion when the school attempts something like promoting modesty in dress, a petition against the policy is the reaction they get?