It's prom time–which means it's also How Dare Those Schools Set Standards for Prom Dresses? time for students, parents, and, of course, the liberal media, which invariably think it's just fine for an 17-year-old girl to show up at a school dance dressed for a Kim Kardashian lookalike contest.

Let the complaints roll in! How dare those prudish administrators tell me/my daughter/any gal of any age that there's such a thing as an appropriate and classy evening gown–in contrast to a bare-all schmata that makes you look as though you're auditioning for the community-theater version of Pretty Woman?

Witness the furor, reported in the New York Times, when the headmaster of Shelton High School in Connecticut, announced what seems to me to be a highly reasonable female dress code for this year's prom::

On Friday, Beth A. Smith, the headmaster, made an announcement that was intended to remind students of the dress code for prom. Backless dresses, side cutouts and bared midriffs were among the styles that would not be permitted. Ms. Smith urged students to ask a faculty member whether their dress was acceptable.

Reaction was swift. Students were aghast. Parents who had spent hundreds of dollars on dresses, alterations and coordinating shoes and jewelry cried foul.

Students said Ms. Smith’s announcement, and the specific prohibitions, came as a surprise, and at a late date. The prom is on Saturday. More than 500 students had bought their $90 tickets as of Monday. Students and parents signed permission slips that outlined rules and regulations for the prom. Students say the rules were vague, calling for “appropriate formal dress” and warning that students dressed “inappropriately” would be sent home without a refund.

Now, you might understand if just the students were complaining–most young people like to get away with whatever they can.

But noooo:

Alexis Gerics, a junior, bought her long, black backless dress in early March. Alexis said that after Ms. Smith’s announcement last week she took her cellphone to the headmaster’s office, showed a photo of her dress and asked if it was acceptable.

Ms. Smith told her the dress was not appropriate, Alexis said. She would have to wear a camisole underneath the dress if she wanted to attend the prom.

Alexis’s mother, Tonny Montalvo, said she did not think the prom dress code unreasonable. What exasperated her, she said, was that the guidelines were not explained clearly — and early.

“They say it’s in the student handbook,” Ms. Montalvo said. “There’s no specifics anywhere."

You'd think that a mother might be able to, well, figure out that a backless dress on a junior in high school might not be "appropriate."

Here's another sad tale from the annals of thwarted motherly love:

Danielle Rieder, a junior, said her white strapless dress also got the thumbs-down from the headmaster on Friday. “I have cutouts in the back of my dress so parts of my back are visible, and she said that was inappropriate,” Danielle said.

Danielle’s mother, Fran Rieder, said the prom was already a financial strain to the family. She and her husband are divorcing, and Ms. Rieder is living with Danielle’s grandmother. The dress and alterations cost $400 on top of the $90 prom ticket, Ms. Rieder said.

The headmast’s announcement, eight days before the prom, left Ms. Rieder and other parents without many options.

“I scrimped and saved to give my daughter this,” she said. “It’s beautiful on her. So I’m hoping they change their minds.”

And pity poor Freeman Burr, superintendent at Shelton, trying to explain what Shelton administrators say is longstanding school policy, not a set of puritanical standards sprung on the students at the last minute:

“We want our young ladies to be dressed beautifully; we want them to be dressed with class and dignity,” Mr. Burr said. “But we are going to draw the line relative to attire that would be deemed overexposing oneself.”

"Class and dignity"? What's that?

As might be expected, the New York Times made it clear where its sympathies lay. Photos accompanying the story showed Danielle's dress only from the front and did not provide an image of Alexis's dress at all. The Times article also linked to a TeenVogue article expressing horror that a Catholic high school had dared to lay down modesty standards for prom dresses:

Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania recently put out a very specific dress code for their students' prom attire. These guidelines were put forth in order to make their prom "meet the values of Christian leadership." How a high neckline contributes directly to good leadership is unclear, but the rules are crystal and anyone who fails to meet their standards will be denied entry into prom.

The notice reads: "Women's gowns may not be extremely short, have an extremely low cut front or back, have any excessively high cut slits, have overly revealing midriffs, or be inappropriately revealing-giving the illusion of nudity." To ensure these measures are met, the school is requiring a submission of photos of every girl's dress (both front and back) before they're allowed to purchase a ticket.

Nah, high necklines and leadership have nothing to do with each other. Which is why actual female leaders, such as Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina, show up at public functions in dresses cut down to their waists.

But you have to expect a firestorm if you try to tell a young girl what she can't wear. And a Black Saturday-level firestorm if you try to tell that to the girl's doting mother or the even more doting media.