After male athletes were allowed to train shirtless in warm weather, Albany High School Recently decided to allow female athletes to do the same by training in sports bras. In response to the girls’ outcry, Ashley Chapple, athletic director for the Albany school district said that it was inappropriate for them and issued suspensions.

The females are now fighting back against their school’s sexist dress code policy, which has been in place for decades. Jordan Johnson, one of the teens, made a statement about the unfairness of the school’s choice.

“Wednesday, she confronted us about wearing sports bras and saying we couldn’t (just) wear sports bras because we have male coaches,” Johnson stated. “She said that before and she said us working out is a distraction. We have to cover up because male coaches are around.”

The next day, the girls resumed training in ways that were comfortable for them; however, Chapple made the girls who were only wearing sports bras leave.

Johnson started an online petition after students were kicked out of the program in order to get Chapple to change his mind. So far, it has received thousands of signatures.

“The athletic administration staff is attempting to exclude us from our sport as a result of the misinterpretation of the dress code,” Johnson wrote on the petition named, “Stop Gender Biased Dress Codes: Allow the Girls Track Team to wear Sports Bras.” She added, “We’re being punished for practicing in sports bras in the presence of male coaches, while the boys’ team was asked nicely to put shirts back on and was not punished.”

On Thursday, after the incident occurred, girls showed up to a lacrosse game to watch. However, Chapple and security guards were there waiting to stop them from entering.

On Friday, thirteen female track and field members received suspensions. Chapple delivered each athlete a hand-written letter that explained their removal from the sports team. These letters accused the female athletes of using vulgar language during the lacrosse game.

The girls, on the other hand, responded that they had done nothing wrong.

“We were loud, but we did not swear,” student Alexis Arango stated.

“No one was cursing. We were loud because we were outside.” Johnson said.

Nonetheless, the Albany school district’s superintendent, Kaweeda G. Adams, supported Chapple’s decision to suspend the students because of their “inappropriate and disrespectful behavior directed toward an administrator.”

She continued: “Their suspension was in no way related to wardrobe. It was entirely related to their inappropriate conduct and in alignment with our Student Code of Conduct. We addressed the matter related to practice attire with male and female members of the Albany High track and field teams last week. The information communicated to both groups of student-athletes was the same – that their practice attire did not align with our Student Code of Conduct.”

Although the petition may not have been the primary reason for their suspension, athlete Kayla Huba believes it played a role in their eventual suspension.

“‘I think it is because we tried to stand up for ourselves,” she stated. “(Chapple) just wants to be in the right. She doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.”