The Conservative Supreme Court Might Take on “Chivalry” in School Dress Codes, What Could Go Wrong?
The well-loved and highly regarded United States Supreme Court has had an illustrious track record with championing human rights over the past year. And now they may be taking up another legal battle to defend the freedoms of American citizens! Specifically the freedom for young female American citizens to cover up their bodies with ugly, shapeless school uniforms so as to not dishonor themselves by courting the attention of their male peers.
According to The 19th, the Supreme Court is currently in talks with the Biden administration to decide whether or not they should consider the case of a North Carolina charter school that was found to be in violation of the Constitution for requiring female students to wear skirts and dresses in an effort to promote “chivalry.” It is unknown what exactly the school’s grasp of “chivalry” entails, but it is possible that they may also require young men to wear ladies’ favors in their caps as they joust in the hallways with rolling chairs and yardsticks like the Arthurian knights of old.
North Carolina’s Charter Day School defines itself as “classical, traditional-values-based education,” that enforces a dress code to foster “mutual respect between boys and girls.” Because nothing makes a man respect a woman more than if she’s wearing a scratchy wool skirt and a pair of loafers. If only this policy could be enacted nationwide. I’m sure that we would see an end to sexism overnight. It makes me wonder if the people who designed this policy were wearing the same uniform themselves. I should hope so. After all, how else can a modern woman attract a man who will travel by horseback to the remote lands of Gaul on a quest to pull the sacred sword from the stone and win her courtly affection?
Apparently, three parents at the school didn’t get the memo. Or rather, the letter scrawled by an abbot inlaid with lapis lazuli. The trio filed a lawsuit against the charter school, claiming that the skirt requirement violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Title IX, and “burdens girls with restrictions of their freedom of movement that boys do not suffer” as well as enforces “archaic sex role stereotypes.” Exactly! That’s the point! This charter school’s noble quest is to return to the glorious days of yore! Where a woman’s only duty was to pine away in a tall tower while combing her luxurious hair.
The founder of the school, Baker Mitchell (possibly a knight errant himself?) seems to agree. No doubt the man is descended from the noble line of Arthur Pendragon, as he doubled down on his commitment to upholding the chivalric code in an email exchange with one of the parents who filed the suit. He claims that the skirt requirement helps foster “a code of conduct where women are treated, they’re regarded as a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor.” Indeed! A fragile vessel capable of only nibbling at honeyed dates and sighing as she awaits the return of her good knight from his noble quest! I’m certain that Mitchell himself is quite a ladies man. After all, what woman wouldn’t want to engage in a little medieval role play with Mitchell after spending the day tending to home and hearth? What woman could possibly resist his charms as he swears on his plastic sword obtained on his perilous quest to Party City? Nary a one!
Mitchell went on to say that with a school uniform requirement, events like the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School are less likely to repeat themselves. Right he is! After all, guns don’t kill people, black leather trenchcoats kill people! Perhaps if Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were wearing a tie and a nice pair of slacks, they wouldn’t have been as emboldened to murder their classmates! And surely, if one of their female victims had been wearing a knee-length wool skirt, their chivalric instincts would have kicked in and they would never have harmed such a fragile maiden! What a pity, if only we had known that plaid skirts and button-down shirts were the answer to stopping the epidemic of violence plaguing the American educational system! Imagine how many children could have been saved! But of course, the Supreme Court’s inaction on gun control had nothing to do with it!
If only District Judge Malcolm Howard understood this. In 2019, he ruled in favor of the plaintiffs of the case, thereby abolishing the skirt requirement and dooming scores of young women to the life of a common serf! The case was then appealed by both parties to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which upheld the ruling that the skirt requirement violated Title IX laws, but also stated that the school could not be sued on constitutional grounds for its dress code policy as it is not an actor of the state.
The 4th circuit then reheard the case in June 2022 and ruled almost completely against the school, finding that Charter Day School was indeed a state actor, as it receives nearly 95% of its funding from the state itself. Therefore, it could be sued on constitutional grounds, and boy was it.
A veritable Round Table of Republicans were not happy with the decision. Led by Texas attorney Ken Paxton, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, numerous religious rights groups, and the ironically named Independent Women’s Law Center filed amicus briefs pleading for the Supreme Court to take up the case. Individuals of this Republican Fellowship reportedly stated, “you have my sword, and my bow, and my axe” during their appeal to the court, but this may be hearsay. As of now, it is currently unknown if the Supreme Court will hear the case. Previous rulings by the Supreme Court have defended the right of students to express themselves on First Amendment grounds, but the court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of dress codes under the Equal Protection clause.
I, however, was not content to wait with regards to the decision. So I made it my chivalric quest to steal away into the Supreme Court building via grappling hook and an open window and ransack the office of Justice Alito. I was able to find a preliminary draft of his decision. It states:
To My Goode And Honorable Knights of The Republican Round Table,
Thus sayeth I: it is meet and good that womyn shouldst remain chaste in all matters of wardrobe, so as to not expose the flesh to the air and excite the sanguine humors of the body, creating wantonness. Verily, I propose that chastity belts of good castle forged steel must needs be included in the wardrobe of maids, with the key to be provided to the maiden’s lord husband on the night of their nuptials, and nary a moment before. Alas, the devilish liberals will not be pleased with such a decision, and may take to arms, but we must remain undaunted in our Sacred Queste for King and Country. I trust thou shalt all remain stalwart in thine oath to uphold the Chivalric Code. As of now, I am vexed by the homosexuals and their desire to marry, and can spare nary a thought toward any other matter. But fear not, I shall write again in a moon’s turn.
-Sir Samuel Alito, Knight Errant
(featured image: Erin Schaff-Pool, Getty Images)
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