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Student’s Online Petition Reversed High School’s Sexist Dress Code

A Tennessee school board unanimously voted to modify the dress code, after a student's online petition went viral.


By Gillian Fuller, Allure
    
Students at one Tennessee high school just won a months-long battle to change the school’s eight-year-old dress code, after convincing the school board that the existing code was sexist and dangerous, Yahoo! Style reports.

[post_ads]In August 2016, Farragut High School student Hollie Sikes, a sophomore, created a change.org petition urging the school board to modify the school’s dress code. She claimed that the current code, which required hemlines to be of “fingertip length” or longer, was "irrationally strict," sexist, and even posed potential health risks. In the petition, Sikes explained, “We cannot ignore the simple truth that clothing stores do not sell a wide variety of shorts for girls that are below fingertip length, if any, so young women are forced to wear long pants and jeans in 90 to 100 degree weather simply to avoid suspension. Not only does this present health risks, such as nausea, overheating, and even fainting, but it promotes victim blaming in the (unfortunately, extremely prevalent) case of sexual harassment among students.”

Sikes also put the dress code, and the consequences resulting from a failure to abide by it, in perspective: “Are we as a country seriously willing to send a girl home and deprive her of her education simply because her shorts are ‘too short’? Due to the aforementioned reasoning, you are prioritizing the sexualization of a woman’s body over her right to learn and grow as a human being.”
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Sikes’ online petition received 3,785 signatures, and on Wednesday of last week, the school board unanimously voted to update the code. All schools in the Knox County School District will be affected by the new policy, which permits students to wear skirts and shorts of mid-thigh length, hopefully alleviating some of the concerns voiced in Sikes’ petition. At first, the new code had a provision which required faculty and staff to adhere to the same standards — a practice which school board members acknowledged had not been address in previous versions of the dress code. (Some parents and students reportedly found it hypocritical that adults were enforcing the policy on minors, while violating the rules themselves.) However, as the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, board members ultimately agreed the student dress code was not the appropriate forum to put forth a faculty/staff policy, and that the issue would be addressed separately.

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Lifestyle Magazine: Student’s Online Petition Reversed High School’s Sexist Dress Code
Student’s Online Petition Reversed High School’s Sexist Dress Code
A Tennessee school board unanimously voted to modify the dress code, after a student's online petition went viral.
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