Searcy students and parents meet with school board over dress code

Education

SEARCY, Ark. – Students and parents are facing the Searcy School Board about the district’s dress code. This comes after a petition to change the dress code racked up more than 1,600 signatures.

As students fill the hallways at Searcy High School, some are getting pulled from class based on what they are wearing.

“They’re just wearing everyday normal clothes that teenagers wear, that teenagers see every day,” high school parent Candice Smith said.

Smith is one of more than 1,600 people who added their name to a Change.org petition to revise the district’s dress code. Smith says the current rules are outdated and unfairly target girls.

“What it comes down to is people wanting to police girls’ bodies,” Smith said.

According to the Searcy High School handbook, students must wear shirts with sleeves. Lower garments, like pants shorts and dresses, must not be worn more than three inches above the upper knee and should be free of holes above the knees not exposing skin or undergarments.

“If a kid came in with a shirt that was blinking and played music or maybe actually showed breast tissue or their buttocks I could understand where kids might be distracted but I think what it boils down to is it’s not the kids that are distracted,” Smith said.

Searcy Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said the policy has not changed and neither has enforcement.

As for Smith, she hopes the district will consider updating the rules.

“When you’re sending kids home, you’re interrupting their education just because you don’t like what they’re wearing. I think that takes away from a girl’s education,” Smith said.

Dr. Hart said every spring there is a committee that looks at revisions to the handbook. He invites any parent to be part of that discussion.

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