Baltimore Students Protest ‘Forced Assimilation’ of School Uniforms During #FormationWeek.

Formation Week Baltimore City College

A group of Baltimore students banded together this week to protest their school’s new uniform policy. The protests, known as “Formation Week,” are organized under the City Bloc group. City Bloc, which also organized protests in the wake of the police killing of Freddie Gray, sent a letter to the administration at Baltimore City College high school. The letter outlined uniform standards as a form of cultural suppression that specifically affects students of color.

“Thus we must form ourselves to confront the implications of excluding conversations of protesting and civil disobedience against rape culture, immigration raids, and police brutality from a community that faces intersectional oppression on every level. These microaggressive acts of relegating political discourse to the back burner of our curriculum implicitly teaches students that their cultures, identities, and struggles are irrelevant and ‘unprofessional.'”

City Bloc announced designated protest days such as “MindWrap Monday” during which students wore headwraps and scarves, which were banned for any students who weren’t practicing Muslims. On “Traditional Tuesday” students wore cultural dress such as Dashikis, Hanbok, and Cheongsam. The protests are also used as a time to discuss women’s rights and the importance and cultural celebration.

The administration at Baltimore City College released a letter Tuesday afternoon, which read, in part, “I wish to inform you that despite recent print and social media sensationalism about dress code, City College will remain a uniform school. Although there is no change in the dress code, we do support yesterday and today’s cultural attire in the spirit of university and shared interests.” The principal also wrote that “with the exception of approved exception days as determined by the administration” students must wear their uniforms and adhere to dress codes. Despite the response, the school has not disrupted the protests or disciplined the students involved.