By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — About 40 female students from Divine Child High School protested modesty lessons taught by a campus life minster at the school on May 31, according to WXYZ Channel 7.
The students said the lesson on sexual harassment and rape took place during theology when they were told that dressing provocatively contributes to bad behavior from boys and men.
One student began recording the lesson after tone changed to blaming the girls for everything.
“Those younger guys go, ‘Oh. That’s how you talk about women. That’s how you look at women as an object, something to be dissected,’” the minster is heard saying on audio obtained by Channel 7. “Ladies, if you dress provocative, if you dress and leave absolutely nothing to the imagination younger girls look and go, ‘Oh, my gosh. She’s got plenty of boys around her.’”
In response, the girls wore paper targets on their uniforms last week to protest being targeted, but were told to remove them or they would face detention.
The girls then placed posters in the school that had a message along with a Bible verse.
“Instead of publicly shaming girls for dressing how they want, teach men not to over sexualize women’s bodies,” the poster read.
A father of one of the students told Channel 7 that the school’s administration threatened suspension following the posters placement.
In a statement, the school denied that students were disciplined for wearing the paper targets.
“School administration has no record of students being suspended, issued detentions or otherwise disciplined as a result of this situation” the statement read.
The statement said the administration became aware of the student’s concerns.
“Administration at Divine Child High School recently became aware of concerns from some students about a recent presentation given to all ninth-graders, over the course of May 28-31, covering students’ rights, responsibilities and situations they may face while participating in Christian service opportunities,” it read.
“Our students’ comfort, safety and well-being are paramount to their experience at Divine Child High School, and we are taking all concerns seriously,” the statement read. “To that end, we have discussed these concerns with some students and parents and welcome input from all of our stakeholders.”
“While we are confident in the message and value of the program, this input from our community has and will help us continue to improve our delivery of this important information to our students,” the statement also said.
In 2018, Divine Child High School made news when administrators put “modesty ponchos” on display to serve as a reminder of the dress code requirements for the school’s prom.
The note on the poncho read, “If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements — no problem! We’ve got you covered — literally. This is our modesty poncho, which you’ll be given at the door.”
Divine Child Principal Eric Haley said the intention with displaying the poncho was to remind students about the formal prom dress policy and not to make students feel uncomfortable.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])