BRADENTON, Fla. — Some parents of Manatee County middle school students are urging district officials to review the current dress code policy — and how its enforced.
What You Need To Know
Some Manatee County middle school parents say they want the district dress code changed
One parent says at least 20 girls were recently found to be in violation of dress code at Dr. Mona Jain Middle School
Parents say school district is looking into matter
One of those mothers says her daughter, along with at least 20 other girls, were flagged down by the principal as they walked into school for what they were wearing — which she says created more of a distraction than any of their attire.
“You can see on me, my daughter is my height, this shirt is well covering her rear end, and her front,” said Summer Jahn, as she showed the Blink 182 T-shirt her daughter was wearing when she received a violation. “They dress-coded about 20 girls because of this.”
Jahn’s daughter is a seventh grader at Dr. Mona Jain Middle School. She says it wasn’t a problem when her daughter wore leggings to school all last year, but this year is a different story.
“My daughter was dress-coded the minute she walked in because she was wearing leggings,” Jahn said. “It’s because she has a sensory issue, she wears leggings to school every day, but they’re not spandex style they’re more of a cotton base.”
The School District of Manatee County’s dress code states that “form fitting leotard/spandex type clothing is not allowed unless proper outer garments cover to mid-thigh length or longer.”
However, Jahn says there really wasn’t much difference between the T-shirt her daughter was wearing that the principal found to be in violation of the dress code, and the one she had to bring to her to change into in order to stay in school that day.
“I saw what these girls were wearing, I witnessed girls crying,” she said.
And because of that, she reached out to the superintendent and school board members to make a change.
“What I want is to have a compromise, and I want these girls to be able to wear leggings, as long as they’re appropriate,” Jahn said. “If they’re covering their rear ends and their front side not tucked in, I don’t see where there’s a problem.”
Jahn says school administrators were responsive and said they would look into the issues at Mona Jain. Her daughter hasn’t received a violation since, but she still wants the current dress code changed.
“They’re instilling fear in these girls, of the anxiety of coming to school, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Jahn said. “We have to do something to advocate for these girls.”
The School District of Manatee County did provide a statement, saying in part: “The School District of Manatee County is dedicated to providing a safe, caring, and focused learning environment for all students. That is why a dedicated group of students, school and district administrators, faculty and staff, School Advisory Council (SAC) members and community members devote their time and ideas to developing a student code of conduct to support those aims.”