Texas school board meeting gets heated as parents slam ban on hoodies, dresses and denim
Texan parents angrily denounced their school district’s highly restrictive new dress code and spoke out against rules banning t-shirts, hoodies, dresses, skirts and denim during a board meeting Monday night.
Forney Independent School District, which includes 18 elementary, middle and high schools just east of Dallas, announced last week that they will implement the strict rules for their 14,000 students in the new semester, which begins Aug. 11.
The school district said the dress code was designed to “improve students’ self-esteem, bridge socioeconomic differences between students and promote positive behavior, thereby improving school safety and the learning environment.”
But Monday evening, parents and some students condemned the rules.
Brooklynn Hollaman, a 10th grade student, is seen Monday night in a dress that would be banned under the new rules. Only students from pre-K to 4th grade are allowed to wear dresses
Hollaman (right) is seen outside Monday’s school board meeting, in which she contested the new school dress code
James Traylor, the interim mayor of Forney, holds up a hoodie and insists it would be banned under the new dress code
What is prohibited under the Forney School District dress code?
Visible stripes, checks, lettering, text or other designs.
Sleeveless or bare midriff.
T-shirts except polo shirts.
Shirts or blouses with a zip.
Sweatshirts with hood or outerwear.
Hats, caps, bandanas or other non-religious headgear worn in the school building.
Materials of leather, suede, vinyl, corduroy and denim (excluding outerwear).
Shorts more than 6″ above the knee and only in solid khaki, navy or black.
Holes in clothes.
Cargo or Carpenter style pants.
Football or boxer style shorts, wind shorts/trousers, athletic shorts/trousers, sweat shorts/trousers, spandex (except PE/Athletics, Cheer or Drill classes only).
Overall pants, overall shorts, overall jumpers and overalls.
Leather, suede, vinyl, corduroy and denim materials; brads or studs.
Sunglasses are prohibited.
Clinging or transparent clothing is unacceptable.
Clothing must NOT be more than one size larger than the student’s measurements.
For example, clothing that is not specifically labeled as acceptable is unacceptable; midriff sweaters, wristbands, boas, fur trim.
Haircuts and make-up should not be ‘extreme’.
Brooklynn Hollaman, a 10th grade student, addressed the meeting in a smart dress — which she and other students above fourth grade would not be allowed to wear when the new rules come into effect.
She has started a petition, which now has more than 5,000 signatories.
“I don’t agree,” Hollaman said.
“Hopefully they change their mind, there are a lot of people on my side now.
“I think the dress code is unfair, and I’m wearing this dress tonight to contradict what the district claims.”
Forney’s interim mayor, James Traylor, who has a daughter within the ward, called the rules “asinine.”
He told the meeting: ‘I don’t think a man should tell a woman what to wear.
“I work with women every day, and they wear dresses, skirts, and they’re professional.”
The district may make an exception for specific clothing if a parent requests it.
But one parent asked, “Do I really have to ask permission to let my girl be a girl?”
Another father, Christian Reed, shared: WFAA that he felt it limited his self-expression and creativity.
“I think it puts a huge limit on kids and kids in this district to express themselves,” Reed said.
“You know, we have to buy a set of clothes for school and then a set for everyday life. Most school districts don’t do this.”
The school district posted a slick video on its website promoting the new code.
A student explains: ‘Every profession has a dress code, whether it’s scrubs, a welding helmet or a chef’s apron.
‘The way I dress plays an important role in professionalism and safety, both in the classroom and in the workplace.’
The video lists “Professionalism and strong work ethic” as one of the top employee skills employers are looking for.
Justin Terry, the school district superintendent, then explains the change.
“Things like creativity and collaboration are so important, but what’s also important are some of the basic skills for employability,” he says.
“We are so excited to re-establish this bar with you – with our parents, with our community members, with all of our business partners – as we work together to bring our schools, our classrooms back to our children’s future to create a safe, enjoyable and stimulating learning environment with Forney ISD.’
A student is featured in a video discussing the acceptable dress code. Her shorts are accepted as they are no more than 6″ above the knee, and they come in one of three colors – khaki, navy blue and black