I thought that today was going to be the day when we inaugurated our first female president. Alas, that day will have to wait. But in honor of Hillary Clinton and all of the women who have pushed that glass ceiling, we offer a brief commentary on the utterly obscure case of Press v. Pasadena ISD.
This case arose when an 8th grade girl defied the school’s dress code by wearing a pantsuit to school. A pantsuit!! The dress code prohibited the girls from wearing “any type trouser garment.”
I know what you are asking yourself: when was this?????
It was 1971. Where were you? Are any of you old enough to remember schools that prohibited girls from wearing “any type trouser garment”?
I know for a fact that in the late 60s girls at Baylor had to obtain “pants permission” if they wanted to wear jeans or any “trouser type garment” on the BU campus. Sheesh.
Young Ms. Press lost her case. The federal judge said that federal courts ought to steer clear of food fights like this one, but also held that the school had violated no legal standards. The court did not even bother to address the fact that the dress code treated girls differently from the boys.
Of course this was before Title IX. It was a time when there were probably zero female school superintendents in Texas. The idea of a woman president would have been laughed at. So we have come a long way. We now have laws that prohibit sex discrimination. We have many female superintendents. No one laughed at Hillary’s run for high office and in fact, she got more votes than the other guy. Next time, maybe the woman wins.
This wonderfully wacky old case was decided by the federal court for the Southern District of Texas on March 4, 1971. You can find it at 326 F.Supp. 550.
DAWG BONE: PANTS TO PRESIDENT IS A LONG, LONG JOURNEY