It's homecoming season, and you know what that means: it's time to celebrate the return to school through spirit week!
During spirit week, each day represents a theme where students have an opportunity to show off their school spirit -- not their relationship status.
Calcasieu Parish, A middle school in Iowa, Louisiana, is under fire for adopting a spirit week theme from that of the shared-campus's high school.
The theme encourages teenagers to indicate if they are or aren't in relationships by dressing accordingly.
M.J. Mouton, the frustrated father of a 12-year-old daughter who is a student at the school called Monday's "stoplight" dress theme "inappropriate" on Twitter.
The rules stipulate that a pupil should "Wear Red if you are taken. Wear Green if you are single. Wear Yellow if it is complicated."
My daughter's school has dress up week. Monday is... Wear Red if you are taken. Wear Green if you are single. Wear… https://t.co/r1ypI0Ax1k— M.J. Mouton (@M.J. Mouton)1537651278.0
Mouton told Yahoo, "Maybe it's appropriate for high school, but for middle schoolers, it's not."
"[My daughter] doesn't really have interest in those things. She also sees that there's going to be some kids who potentially are going to feel bad [about not dating], or kids who are going to participate because they want to feel a part of something."
Apparently, it is carry over from the high school. The high schoolers do it to find who is available for Homecoming!— M.J. Mouton (@M.J. Mouton)1537658000.0
"Kids should be kids. Sure, some middle school kids are going to have boyfriends and girlfriends and crushes, but I don't think we need the school to play matchmaker for a 10 to 14-year-old," Mouton said.
https://t.co/GIMgbW9aPp— M.J. Mouton (@M.J. Mouton)1537718046.0
Mouton, who writes science books for kids, told Yahoo that the theme could encourage the kind of bullying in which young students are judged depending on whether or not they have a boyfriend or a girlfriend.
"Middle school kids are in an extremely vulnerable state—dealing with peer pressure, making friends, typical school stresses. I would encourage the school to have fun days, free dress days, but most importantly, think ahead about how these things they implement affect the emotional state of kids,"
My hope is that parents of the kids at the school see that this is not a good idea and have their kids not particip… https://t.co/DqvmHuDZHT— M.J. Mouton (@M.J. Mouton)1537757804.0
A good majority of people agreed with Mouton's post, which was shared over 20,000 times.
@MJ_Mouton Good job, Dad. Both date availability Monday and Tuesday’s “gender wars” are really bad ideas for any gr… https://t.co/NLfhV4tM2M— Carly (@Carly)1537760445.0
@MJ_Mouton It's unacceptable school administration didn't know about it prior. What kind of message does it send ki… https://t.co/ccv2HRjbI5— Kristina K. Gehrki (@Kristina K. Gehrki)1537792428.0
@MJ_Mouton It's wrong to help "sexualize" middle school. The pressure on tweens from so many sources already making… https://t.co/HZhGqyZwv3— CatskillJulie (@CatskillJulie)1537809007.0
His tweet also got the attention of the school, whose administrators said it was too late to change Monday's theme.
The Calcasieu Parish school board responded to Mouton's concern with a letter, stating:
"Our intentions were not to cause undue stress on students or their families. Unfortunately, we did not hear about them until so late in the week that we were unable to change our days."
"I can assure you that we have plans in the works for next year to avoid a repeat of these circumstances. Finally, we will never target students for any reason at any time."
He took to Twitter to share the letter.
https://t.co/liPgCs4uqd— M.J. Mouton (@M.J. Mouton)1537766659.0
@MJ_Mouton I hope they all stand with you on this. The school admins are in hot water and I think they are making a lame excuse.— Not today, Satan. (@Not today, Satan.)1537780728.0
According to Yahoo, Mouton thinks that only 50% of the middle school students participated in the dress theme after posting his tweets.