Ballet Dress Code Subject of Public School Debate

Some angry parents are accusing Montgomery public school leaders of dancing around a serious issue. Concerned viewers contacted WSFA complaining about the dress code for dance classes at a local magnet school.

It was certainly a sensitive issue for the parent who wrote the letter, arguing that a school policy that keeps girls from wearing panties in dance class needs to be twirled into the trash.

Expert dancer Priscilla Ball with the Montgomery Ballet says, "The standard dress code is tights, leotards, ballet slippers and sometimes a skirt." And she says it's common practice for aspiring and professional dancers to go without undergarments.

The dress code debate was sparked by a letter criticizing a Baldwin Magnet School teacher for "forcing children not to wear panties" during dance class.

Cathy Wright with Montgomery Public Schools says the practice is done in any professional training program in the country. She insists parents are fully aware of the policy. The dress code policy states:

Students are expected to adhere to a dress code appropriate to the study of dance. Female dancers are expected not to wear underwear underneath their dance attire.

Wright says the dress code has a medical bases. She says research shows three layers of clothing, combined with the hour long dance classes, creates overheating problems for students and can lead to health concerns. She also points out that parents who don't agree with the policy can pull their child out of the program.

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