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OSD Superintendent: ‘Fewer’ Dress Code Violations Friday; The ACLU weighs

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By Alyssa Schnugg

news editor

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Superintendent Bradley Roberson emailed parents Friday morning regarding recent complaints about how the school district dress code policy was applied, providing the estimated number of students asked to change their attire.

From Tuesday to Thursday, Roberson said 25 students from Oxford Intermediate School; 20 students from Oxford Middle School and 75 students from Oxford High School were asked to change their outfits because they did not follow the dress code policy.

Complaints from parents began on Tuesday, quickly making the rounds on social media. Some parents said their children, all girls, were prevented from going to class and discriminated against in front of other children because of alleged dress code violations. Many parents felt that schools were not following school policy and making decisions that were stricter than current policy.

The dress code policy was approved in 2020; however, Roberson admitted that it was not enforced regularly but the district decided to start enforcing it more vigorously this school year.

Roberson said Friday that managers are reporting fewer violations Friday.

The administrative team is in daily communication between campuses regarding dress code enforcement, he said in the email. Our goal is to continue to refine our process and establish consistency while addressing students as quietly as possible.

The minimum dress requirements set out in the policy are:

  • Clothing should cover from the top of the shoulder and extend to mid-thigh.
  • Tears or rips in clothing should be below mid-thigh.
  • Sheer or mesh garments should not be worn without garments underneath that meet minimum dress code requirements.
  • Tight-fitting clothing must be covered with a garment that meets the minimum requirements of the dress code.
  • Shoes must be worn at all times and must be safe for the school environment.

Cheerleaders have been told they can no longer wear their uniforms to school, according to several parents. Some directors measured shorts and skirts with measuring tapes while others used the fingertip ruler. The girls wore leggings with shirts that didn’t go down to the thighs. Other parents said they were told gym shorts were not allowed, no matter how long.

It appears that the policy currently only applies to grades six through twelfth.

However, several parents voiced their support for the dress code on local social media pages and applauded the district for starting to enforce it. Some have suggested that the OSD should switch to uniforms to completely eliminate the issue.

The school dress code also states that students should be able to dress for school in a way that expresses their individuality as long as it does not interfere with the learning process and their health and safety or those other students; and Students must be treated fairly. The dress code should not create disparities or reinforce or increase the marginalization of any individual or group.

Some parents have contacted the ACLU of Mississippi over complaints about the dress code and in an email response, ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director Jarvis Dortch said the OSD is not following its own policy as it was written.

Students have been removed or withheld from their classes due to dress code violations; they were reprimanded in front of other students; first-time offenders received disciplinary measures such as in-school suspension reserved for repeat offences; and core values ​​emphasizing student individuality, fair treatment and avoiding reinforcing disparities and marginalization were totally ignored. However, it appears Oxford High School administrators chose to strictly enforce the dress code in a way that potentially discriminates against female students. These actions would run counter to the core values ​​of the districts.

Roberson did not respond to Dortch’s statement.

A group of parents who disagree with the number of incidents reported by Roberson in his email have created an online website Google Docs where parents can report their child’s dress code violations or warnings.

A high school student led by online petition against the dress code collected more than 1,200 signatures.


Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.hottytoddy.com/2022/08/05/osd-superintendent-fewer-dress-code-violations-friday-aclu-weighs-in/

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