GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Guilderland Board of Education will vote Tuesday night on a policy that would change the dress code to allow students to wear sports bras as tops during outdoor sports practices.
“Last spring, some members from the track team, including my daughter,” said board member Blanca Gonzalez-Parker in an interview Tuesday, “came forward and said that they felt that female runners should be able to run in sports bras, and male runners should be able to run shirtless.”
Gonzalez-Parker said she agreed with her daughter and those runners, so she took the concerns to the policy committee. However, she feels the policy that was written and is up for vote doesn’t address everything. It allows for sports bras, but no changes for the male students.
She also said since the spring, she’s been approached by people in the district on the other side of the argument “who are concerned that, in an effort to pass a policy that takes a stand against objectifying women, that it may actually result in body-shaming or the furthering of bullying.”
In an October 3rd meeting, Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles acknowledged this, and agreed that the issue is not cut and dry.
“Is there more ‘good’ from this, or is there more, ‘not so good’ from this,” Dr. Wiles said, “and that’s kind of where this is a really difficult call.”
Dr. Wiles sent NEWS10 the following statement Tuesday:
A policy change to the student dress code is a decision that will be made by the Guilderland Board of Education. I look forward to their conversation at this evening’s meeting and their ultimate decision. Wherever the board rests, district administration will implement the policy.Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles
The proposed policy states that once the student is done with outdoor sports practice, they must continue to comply with standard dress code requirements. Wiles expressed concern during the meeting on October 3rd about enforcement of this and said the wearing of sports bras has already had instances of creeping into the school day.
The policy will be up for the school board’s vote at 7 P.M. Tuesday at the high school. You can read the proposed policy through a link in the meeting agenda. The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube.
The potential for a policy change in Guilderland comes on the heels of a similar revision in the City School District of Albany. In July 2022, the school board there voted to approve a revised dress code to allow students to wear sports bras for sports practices. It was implemented in the 2022-2023 school year and remains part of the dress code today.