Principal slammed for demanding pictures of prom dresses before purchase

Dr. Kim Pendleton insisted she had gotten complaints about what some of the girls wore to dances but a backlash was quick

Dr. Kim Pendleton (Credit: Caddo Parish Public Schools)

A Louisiana high school principal is under fire after she sent a text message mandating all female students attending prom send her photos of themselves in their desired outfits for her pre-approval.

According to NBC News, this week, students attending Southwood High School in Shreveport received the hotly debated message from Principal Dr. Kim Pendleton. It instructed their daughters – and even female dates of their sons who don’t attend the school – to run their prom dress choices by her before purchase.

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“This message is for any female attending Southwood’s prom. Boys, this also applies to your off-campus dates. As you begin shopping for your attire, please make sure you do not purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner,” Pendleton wrote in the message.

“Also, make sure we not see excess cleavage or skin,” she continued. “Prior to purchasing an outfit, I will need you to send me a picture of you in the outfit with your name and grade. Once I approve the outfit, you may purchase it. The approved outfit is the only one you will be allowed to wear to prom.”

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In a statement sent to NBC News, Pendleton, who took over as principal at Southwood High School in December, explained her controversial decision to send the mass text. She said it was directly informed by feedback from faculty and parents who were concerned about inappropriate attire at previous school functions.

She also addressed those who found it problematic that she only singled out female prom attendees. None of the complaints she received was about male attire.

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To her point, photos from the 2019 prom posted on the school’s official website show an assortment of dresses with plunging necklines and high slits, strapless gowns, sheer tops, and midriff-baring two-piece ensembles.

The principal declared that not only have students only sent her respectful submissions thus far, some parents reached out to her to say they were “proud of the school for taking a stand to ensure prom is an encouraging, wholesome event.”

Southwood will host its annual senior prom in April but students will no longer need dress approval. KTAL reported Friday that Pendleton’s directive was overruled.

“It is no longer a requirement for students to have preapproval for their formal dress prior to prom. Any student and parent who may have doubts are welcome to send in their photo or show the dress in person,” the Caddo Parish Public Schools said in a statement.