Principal asked to see pics of prom dresses to avoid 'excess cleavage or skin'

Students attending Southwood High School's prom were told they needed to submit photos of themselves in their dresses for pre-approval.
/ Source: TODAY

A high school principal in Shreveport, Louisiana, is reversing course after she informed female students that they are required to send photos wearing their prom dresses to get approval before purchasing them.

The message was sent out last week over Southwood High School's text message alert system. The rule also applied to any female students who attend other schools, but were planning to go with a date to the school's prom in April.

"As you begin shopping for your attire, please make sure you do not purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner," principal Kim Pendleton wrote in the message, which was obtained by NBC affiliate KTAL. "Also, make sure we do not see excess cleavage or skin. 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."

Pendleton, who is a new principal at the high school, told TODAY Style in a statement Monday that the pre-approval policy was initially required to ensure parents "would not spend money on a dress which would be turned away for being inappropriate."

"Since that information was shared with students and families, within a day’s time we changed the guidelines to lift the pre-approval requirement," she said.

Pendleton said she had received some feedback from parents and staff members about students dressing inappropriately at previous school events.

The rule drew criticism on social media.

"Are we approving what young men wear as well?" asked one person on Twitter.

Pendleton said she has received positive feedback from parents who have reached out to make sure their daughters are in compliance with the dress code.

"We still have families who have approached staff to ask for advice on whether their dresses would meet the guidelines," she said. "To date, we have not denied any students’ attire and instead have received positive feedback from our parents who are proud of the school for taking a stand to ensure prom is an encouraging, wholesome event."