Ft. Bend Co. assistant principal in hot water over comments about students' attire

Friday, September 2, 2016
Assistant principal critizens over controversial comments about girls
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An assistant principal in Fort Bend County is under fire for controversial comments he made about female students' attire.

SUGAR LAND, TX (KTRK) -- A school administrator's comments about girls' revealing clothes causing boys' low grades are stirring an uproar among parents and teens.

Phil Morgante, assistant principal at Clements High School, made those comments at assemblies last week. He was discussing the dress code when students said he made what they called sexist comments.

"It's just kind of gross because he teaches teenage girls," said Piper Cotton, a Clements student.

"Like they can blame us for them being distracted during school hours. He insisted rape culture on us," Cotton said.

"I understand why girls are offended because grown women get the same thing. I'm 48 and I'm told what I should or should not wear based on my age," said Elizabeth White, the mother of a middle school boy in Fort Bend ISD.

White said she's using this incident as a catalyst to talk with her son about sexism.

"Saying a boy gets distracted, or gets worse grades, because some girl's showing her bra strap or her tummy or her shorts are too short, that's wrong," she said.

Several students said Morgante's comments seemed to be an attempt at humor, but said they came across as tone-deaf, dated and offensive. The Odyssey posted audio reportedly recorded by a student during the assembly.

"He made it seem like girls are just in school as a distraction for boys, when in reality our education is just as important as theirs," said Em, a junior who didn't want her last name published.

Others agreed the comments were a poor choice, but said they shouldn't overshadow the importance of following the school's dress code.

Morgante did not return our calls for comments. His assistant told Eyewitness News he had nothing to say about the comments. However, Fort Bend ISD issued a statement:

During assemblies last week, when speaking about the dress code, a Clements High School administrator made comments that were inappropriate and offensive to students. These comments should not have been made, and do not represent the beliefs of Fort Bend ISD or the Clements administrative team or faculty. The comments were a failed attempt at humor and inappropriate.

Following concerns expressed by students, the Clements principal took prompt action to address the comments and apologized to the student body.

We have high expectations for both students and staff at Clements High School and throughout Fort Bend ISD. Our goal is to provide a safe, positive learning environment where all students feel supported and valued.

Please know this situation is being addressed, and appropriate actions will be taken.