Wisconsin ACLU gets involved in fights over yoga pants in schools

KENOSHA (WISN) — The American Civil Liberties Union is getting involved in a fight over yoga pants at school.

The ACLU says school bans on yoga pants and leggings are inherently sexist. 

The administration at the Kenosha Unified School District ended a five year ban on yoga pants and leggings in March, but the ACLU of Wisconsin says it didn’t go far enough because teachers and staff haven’t gotten the message.

For as long as they’ve been in fashion, yoga pants have challenged concepts of appropriateness.

"If they’re gonna wear them, just keep it covered. That’s my opinion. That’s what I tell my daughter.  Wear longer shirts so all that’s covered," said Catherine Cotto, a parent in Kenosha.

Cotto is a parent of a Kenosha Bradford student and until last spring, the pants were banned in school when a group of parents and students got the district to change course.

"It doesn’t make sense to limit expression through clothing that targets a specific gender," said Asma Kadri Keeler, with the ACLU.

Keeler says although Kenosha rescinded its ban on yoga pants, leggings and tank tops, it’s still being selectively enforced, including a case this summer at Kenosha Tremper in which a girl was twice sent home from summer school.

"We can talk about items of clothing and we can talk about decency and all that, but the bigger picture is that girls are being pulled out of class and losing access to education at a rate that boys aren’t.  And that’s a bigger problem," Keeler told WISN-TV.

Parents like Cotto say, ultimately, it should be their decision.

"The school should not decide what a child… what a parent should buy their child," she said.

The district did not respond to attempts for comment on the issue Monday. It’s not the only district in this position. Last month, Wauwatosa also rescinded their yoga pants and leggings ban, saying it should be up to students and parents.

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