After photos of students in crowded hallways sans masks went viral this week, a Georgia superintendent sent parents a letter claiming that there was “no practical way” to enforce mask requirements. Now he’s being widely mocked on Twitter.
The New York Times reported that Superintendent Brian Ottot acknowledged that the photos didn’t look good, but opined that wearing a mask, which is proven to significantly diminish the spread of coronavirus, is a “personal choice.”
“What we will do is continue to strongly encourage all students and staff to wear masks,” Ottot wrote.
Ottot’s claim didn’t sit well with women, many of whom pointed out that schools don’t seem to have any problem enforcing dress codes, typically against females.
Many shared stories of being disciplined for various dress code infractions, like wearing a tank top or shorts that don’t reach fingertip length. Some men chimed in with tales of getting in trouble for not shaving, or wearing a shirt with a peace sign because it was a “broken cross.”
Some noted that schools routinely enforce racist dress codes prohibiting common hairstyles for Black people.
The story quickly became a meme.
“Spaghetti straps would like a word,” quipped Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson.
“Shorts too short is also waiting in the hall,” added another.
“My favorite part of the masking at school conversation is the outrage of (mostly) women in my timeline calling out school dress codes,” commented one woman.
The school in Georgia—which suspended, then repealed the suspension of, the student who shared the photos—does not have a mask requirement. Georgia is one of a handful of states where students are going back to school this week even as coronavirus deaths continue to mount.
“It is unfortunate in this age of instant communication these types of issues can escalate so quickly without sufficient context,” Ottot concluded in his letter to parents. “Thank you for your patience and support as we all adjust to this new learning model and make needed adjustments.”
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