Martin County students start petition to change school dress code

Petition has gained nearly 2,000 signatures since it was published Friday night
Posted at 10:23 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 23:25:07-04

STUART, Fla. — Two South Fork High School students said they will go before the school board at Tuesday's meeting to speak about the current dress code in schools.

The petition has gained nearly 2,000 signatures since it was published Friday night.

"They're asking females to raise their arms above their head to see if the midriff shows if they're wearing a shirt and it seems a little shorter, like at your belt line," said Ryann Cooper, a senior at South Fork High School.

"It devalues the female education by forcing these girls to leave class to go deal with these dress code issues," Mackenzie Gorton, a senior at South Fork High School.

The district's current dress code policy states that the torso cannot be shown and that shorts must be no shorter than 4 inches above the top of the knee.

No holes or tears in clothing are allowed.

"I think what we have is a minimum expectation, and that's pretty consistent with other districts surrounding us in the state of Florida," said Martin County Superintendent Dr. John Millay.

Millay said the current code allows for a learning environment that is not distracting to other students.

"I've talked to my male friends and none of them have been like, 'Oh wow, that ankle right there, that's really distracting.' Or, 'Wow, your collarbones are out. I couldn't focus in class,'" said Gorton.

"I signed it. My husband signed it. My son signed it," said parent Michelle Jacobs. "Yoga pants and leggings I guess are, what, distracting? No, maybe teach your boys to not be so distracted."

Cooper said male students have been receiving dress code violations, but not as many as female students.

"You can't wear a tight shirt and you can't wear a loose shirt," said Cooper. "Nowadays with what the stores are selling like Hollister or Aeropostale, their shirts are either crop tops or huge baggy t-shirts."

"That's all decided by the student code of conduct and we take that very seriously, just like every issue," said Millay.

Millay said the code of conduct was approved by the school board back in May or June after two readings, both of which allowed for public comment.