Students at a Catholic high school have staged a protest after claiming they were taught that women wearing revealing clothing contributed to rape.
In lessons taught to 14 and 15-year-old students at Dearborn Divine Child School in Michigan last week, a campus life administrator blamed bad male behavior on women’s attire, the pupils claim.
This week, 40 girls,at the coed, $8,775-per-year institution, wore paper targets on their uniforms to protest ‘being targeted’.
They claim they were told to remove them immediately or face detention, a fate some saw through.
Female students also put up posters in the school which read ‘instead of publicly shaming girls for dressing how they want, teach men not to over sexualize women’s bodies’.
Speaking anonymously, one father told WXYZ that students were threatened with suspension.
In a recording taken by one of the students and obtained by WXYZ, a minister says: ‘If you dress provocatively and leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, younger girls look and go, “oh my gosh, she’s got plenty of boys around her”.
‘Those younger guys go, “oh, that’s how you talk about women, that’s how you look at women as an object, something to be dissected”.’
In a statement, the school said: ‘Administration at Divine Child High School recently became aware of concerns from some students about a recent presentation given to all ninth graders, over the course of May 28-31, covering students’ rights, responsibilities and situations they may face while participating in Christian service opportunities.
‘Our students’ comfort, safety and well-being are paramount to their experience at Divine Child High School, and we are taking all concerns seriously.
‘To that end, we have discussed these concerns with some students and parents and welcome input from all of our stakeholders.
‘School administration has no record of students being suspended, issued detentions or otherwise disciplined as a result of this situation.
‘While we are confident in the message and value of the program, this input from our community has and will help us continue to improve our delivery of this important information to our students.
The school made headlines last year when it provided female students whose prom dresses they deemed too revealing with ‘modesty ponchos’.
The ponchos, some of which have bright colors and patterns, are went on display at the school.
‘If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements—no problem! We’ve got you covered—literally,’ a note attached to the ponchos reads. ‘This is our Modesty Poncho, which you’ll be given at the door.’
The message, which ends with a smiley face, is displayed next to a couple of other notes, including one that specifies the ponchos are available ‘in short and long styles’.
One student, speaking anonymously, said the school has now ‘gone very far’ by debuting the ponchos ahead of the dance.
‘As we walk into prom, we are to shake hands with all the teachers and if you walk through and a teacher deems your dress is inappropriate you will be given a poncho at the door,’ she said.
The student expressed concern at the thought of coming forward against the ponchos, adding: ‘Who knows what will happen to those who try and speak out against it.’
Mary Pat O’Malley, the theology teacher who came up with the idea for the ponchos, told fox2detroit the garments are meant to prompt students to respect the dress code and make sure their dresses follow the guidelines.
‘We are trying focus on the inner beauty and not draw attention to something that doesn’t need attention drawn to it,’ she said. ‘It was really intended as a deterrent and a lighthearted one at that.’
Divine Child High School counts 51 per cent female students and 49 per cent male, according to its website.