A North Texas school district has updated its dress code for the upcoming school year to ban hoodies as well as dresses and skirts for many of its grade levels, believing the change will help students in their future career.
The bans quickly sparked a backlash from parents, students and others who view the policy as unnecessarily restrictive, prompting a high school student to create a petition to “combat unreasonable dress code changes” announced by the Forney Independent School District (FISD).
The new policy, which applies to all 18 FISD schools, prohibits clothing such as hoodies, coats and hoodies inside the school, and also prohibits students in grades five and up to wear dresses, skirts or skorts.
The dress code also requires students to wear solid color shirts and pants, shorts or capri pants in navy blue, black or khaki. Among the things prohibited by the dress code are denim pants, sleeveless shirts, t-shirts, overalls or clothing with holes.
The district emphasized in its announcement of the policy change that the change was intended to prepare students to enter the workforce. He also said the policy gives FISD “a positive and distinctive identity” and reflects “school and community values,” according to a statement and video released by the district.
The video announcement released by FISD lays out the district’s reasoning behind the new policy and features a voiceover from a student.
“I may be a bit young to understand what professionalism means right now, but the skills I’m learning are essential for success in my future career,” says the student. “Every profession has a dress code, whether it’s a smock, welding helmet or chef’s apron. The way I dress plays an important role in professionalism and safety, both in the classroom and on the job site.
If a student violates the dress code, they will have “the opportunity to correct the problem at school,” the policy says. If the violation is not corrected, the student may be suspended from school until the violation is corrected or until a parent or other adult brings the child different clothing that correspond to the policy, he said.
The recently unveiled policy change has met with resistance and criticism from residents who disagree with the district’s bans and reasoning, including parents Amy and Derick Hollaman, whose children attend FISD schools. The couple told CNN affiliate the WFAA that they doubted the restriction would help students.
“A young woman should be able to choose what she wears,” Derick Hollaman told the WFAA. “They shouldn’t have to wear pants.”
One of their daughters, Forney High School student Brooklynn Hollaman, started the petition opposing the new dress code, arguing that the policy is “completely wrong” and “unfair”. The petition garnered more than 3,500 signatures on Friday, although it’s unclear if the signatures are all from people in the district.
“There are so many important skills for the future workforce that we want to pass on to our children as they head into a prosperous future,” FISD Superintendent Justin Terry says in the announcement video, listing characteristics such as creativity, collaboration and “basic employability skills”. such as showing up to work on time, communicating positively with co-workers and following an employer’s expectations.
The dress code is designed to “enhance students’ self-esteem, bridge socio-economic differences among students, and promote positive behavior, thereby improving school safety and the learning environment,” it said. FISD in its press release.