Searcy Junior High Student Council
1972 and 1973 picture from yearbook
This great picture tells a lot. Look at the boys and girls and their dress. Kids have always been fashion conscious and at this time mini-skirts were the rage for girls. And look how short the skirts were.....and skirts were required to be worn by girls in Searcy schools. If the weather was below a certain degree, probably way below freezing, girls could wear pants but as soon as it warmed back up they had to wear dresses or skirts again. And speaking from my experience with a daughter at this age, they hated going back to the dress code. It was not fair. It treated girls differently from boys.
On June 23, 1972, Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 was enacted into law. Title IX prohibited federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against students or employees based on sex. It begins: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” As a result of Title IX, any school that receives any federal money from the elementary to university level–in short, nearly all schools–must provide fair and equal treatment of the sexes in all areas, including athletics.
In my opinion, Title IX was the best thing ever for girls. Schools had eliminated all sports for girls. Girls had no equal opportunities with boys! I think I may have jumped and shouted when this Title IX was passed!
But back to the picture. A young girl in this class at this time complained to her mother that she didn't want to go back to having to wear a skirt to school. Her mom, being much smarter than I was, told her to just keep wearing pants!!! The dress code was challenged and broken!! My daughter came home with the news, absolutely jubilant, but wondering if the girl would get by with it. SHE DID! The school authorities probably knew they no longer had a case and things became much better for girls in the following years. Sports, equal treatment in clubs, and lots of other improvements came about. If any of the folks in this picture remember this as I do, let us hear from you.