Students and Parents Say Duval Schools Dress Discriminatorily


The current code contains rules against head coverings, a definition broad enough to include hijabs. Others focus specifically on clothing that critics say only applies to women.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Is the dress code in Duval County schools discriminatory? That’s a question some members of the county’s Parent-Teacher Association are asking, after saying the current code could leave students of certain genders, races and religions feeling targeted.

The PTA are now fighting to change the dress code and discussed the proposal at their meeting on Tuesday morning

Some students also call the dress code unfair. Kennedy Murphy, a DCPS student, organized a former protest against the code.

“I would say it puts women at an educational disadvantage in school. And can divert their attention from things like testing because they’re too busy worrying about little things like their shoulders showing,” Murphy said.

The dress code – featured on the school district’s website – includes things of common sense; now through clothes and students must wear shoes.

But there are also rules against head coverings, a definition broad enough to include hijabs. Other rules focus specifically on clothing that critics say apply to women.

“Allowing shorts in schools, tank tops and scarves are three of the main things I would like to see,” Murphy said.

Members of the Duval County Council Parent-Teacher Association are concerned that the language will lead to subjective application, cause uncertainty for students and parents, and take up unnecessarily time on teachers’ assignments and administrators.

The PTA closed the dress code debate to the media, but some concerns were discussed at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.

While this language has been applied more significantly in some specific dress code provisions applied to clothing and accessories primarily worn by students of certain races and religions, affecting these students differently and inequitably,” Melissa Daniel, Member of the Defense and Legislation Duval County Council PTA.

They plan to ask school officials to change the wording during an upcoming review of the dress code review. This process begins at the end of March and continues until May.

The full resolution adopted by the DCCPTA can be found below;

Whereas, the Duval County Public School General Code of Appearance, hereinafter referred to as the dress code, contains subjective language that lends itself to varying interpretations. Distracting example, shape, too tight fit, etc.

Whereas, subjective language and interpretation constitute non-specific grounds for discipline and cause uncertainty among students, parents, and employees of DCPS and policy enforcement.

While this objective language and interpretation can lead to subjective application in which violations are applied unevenly between students of different body types, gender, race, and religion.

While this language has been applied more significantly to certain specific dress code provisions applied to clothing and accessories primarily worn by students of certain races and religions, affecting these students in different and inequitable ways.

Considering that dress code enforcement can unnecessarily divert time and attention from the duties of teachers and administrators and the education of students in the classroom, while the foregoing conditions have a negative impact on mental and physical health students and their well-being in the learning environment.

Whereas the Duval County Council of PTA and its associated local units in accordance with federal and state law and the position of the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice, support the prohibition of discrimination in dress code on the basis of race, religion and gender.

Whereas Duval County Council, a PTA and its associated local units, in accordance with the Florida State PTA PTA Mission Statement, champions the mental and physical health and well-being of students.

Whereas the Duval County Board of PTA and its associated local units stand for all students in the district and should have a fair and equitable education in a physically and mentally safe and orderly learning environment, therefore be it resolved that the board of the PTA’s Duval County calls for DCP’s skeezy dress code to be updated to promote the physical and mental health and well-being of its students in their learning environment without bias, including, but not including limit, allow headgear, allow tank tops. Remove the use of language to effectively prohibit shorts and leggings without oversized overlays, i.e. too tight, disruptive or embarrassing form fits. Remove subjective language and prohibitions on clothing and accessories that accessories primarily associate with certain genders Religious religions racist and racial stereotyping, including but not limited to too tight fit, distracting, neat and clean, qu Be it further resolved that PTA students and other stakeholders be included in the discussion of reviewing and updating the dress code.

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