Mother voices dress code concerns with Suwannee County School Board

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 27, 2019

This girl has already gotten three dress code violations this school year. Her mother thinks the code is too strict.

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) — A mother who thinks the Suwannee County School District's dress code is too strict is voicing her concerns to the school board at Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting.

Kelli, who only wanted to be referred to by her first name, said her daughter has already had three reported violations of the dress code this school year. She said the dress code enforcement has changed drastically this year.

Last year, her daughter could wear some sleeveless tops and still be compliant with the code. Now, no shoulders can be exposed.

Kelli said her 13-year-old daughter got in trouble at Suwannee Middle School for wearing denim capri pants. The pants don't have holes in them, but there are spots on the jeans that simulate holes.

Kelli showed WCTV patches on the inside of the jeans that she says keeps any skin from being exposed.

"She was pulled as soon as she got off the bus. No skin was being exposed," Kelli said.

She said one of her daughter's dress code violations came when she was wearing a tank top.

"They're not wearing shorty shorts," Kelli said. "They're not... Cleavage isn't being shown. There's even rules if pants are too baggy or too tight."

According to the Suwannee County School Board website, a principal or designee has the authority to determine if a student's clothing is appropriate. The website also said the torso can't be exposed, skirts, dresses, shorts and skorts that are shorter than 4 inches above the top of the knee cap are not acceptable, even if they're worn with leggings or tights.

"There's just a fine line that they want us to ride. It's ridiculous," Kelli said.

WCTV reached out to superintendent Ted Roush, but he declined to comment. He said the board has not had a chance to review the situation.

Kellie said she and a group of parents will speak their mind about the dress code at the board meeting at 6 p.m.

She said she's gotten hundreds of people who've reached out to her in support, after a Facebook post she made about the situation got lots of shares.

Kelli set up a petition to change the dress code, and it has more than 100 signatures so far.

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