Livid parents and students in Texas have accused their school district of implementing an “asinine” dress code for the upcoming year that bans hoodies, skirts, and dresses.
Forney Independent School District held a special board meeting Monday at which members could discuss the new dress code adopted the previous week. The new code bars students above the fourth grade from wearing dresses, skirts, or shorts. All students, no matter their grade, are barred from wearing a long list of items including sleeveless shirts, T-shirts, anything with visible designs, spandex and nylon, anything made of denim, and any jackets or sweatshirts with hoods. “Extreme” hair designs are also off the table.
According to San Antonio local radio station Q101.9, district officials said the change was needed to boost the confidence of students, especially those coming from more disadvantaged financial backgrounds.
“The use of a school dress code is established to improve student self-esteem, bridge socio-economic differences among students, and promote positive behavior, thereby enhancing school safety and improving the learning environment,” the dress code reads.
However, students and parents said the district’s reasoning was BS and the code was just an archaic way to control how students socially expressed themselves.
According to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA, Forney Mayor Pro-Tem James Traylor, whose daughter goes to school in the district, told attendees that no “man should be telling a woman what they should wear.”
One parent called the ban “asinine” while another said they shouldn’t have to ask permission for their daughter to be allowed to dress “like a girl,” WFAA reported. A student, who created a petition against the district’s dress code, protested the board’s decision by wearing a dress to the meeting. Another parent said that, far from helping poorer families, the new code meant he’d have to fork out more to buy suitable clothes.
In a district Facebook post asking for volunteers to help with uniforms, community members did not hesitate to share their disdain.
“Sounds like a cult,” Kimberly Kay wrote. Mary O’Connell jokingly questioned whether the uniforms were replacing “chastity belts.” “So Victorian,” she added.
“My child attends public school, and it is unacceptable for a school district to prohibit the wearing of dresses and skirts past the knee,” Mathew Ben-Yehuda said. “Either you change the policy, or my child can attend home school.”
Elsewhere on social media, commenters speculated that the new code had little to do with “self-esteem” or “bridging socio-economic differences.”
“Who wants to take a guess about who wears dresses, skirts, skorts, denim and hoodies?” has social media user tweeted. “This certainly seems aimed at girls and non white students.”
“It’s designed to prevent what they perceive as boys from wearing dresses and skirts,” another Twitter user speculated. “It’s transphobia and we all know it.”
Administrators noted in the dress code that students who violate the policy will be “given an opportunity to correct the problem at school” before facing in-school suspension. They said repeated offenses could result in more serious consequences but did not specify what those included.
The Forney Independent School District did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Tuesday.