A new dress code is forcing students and parents to accuse officials of a Mississippi school district of targeting women with “incredibly strict and unfair” rules.
Students and parents at Oxford High School started a petition and went public with their grievances against the school’s dress code.
Oxford schools let in for the 2022-23 year on Monday August 1 and OHS students faced a dress code banning clothing over a certain length. For students, this meant they could not wear skirts, shorts or skorts and rips or tears above mid-thigh.
The Oxford School District dress code states:
- Clothing should cover from the top of the shoulder and extend to mid-thigh
- Rips or tears in clothing must be below mid-thigh
- Sheer or mesh garments should not be worn without garments underneath that meet minimum dress code requirements.
- Tight-fitting clothing must be covered with a garment that meets the minimum requirements of the dress code.
- Shoes must be worn at all times and must be safe for the school environment.
Since the school reopened, students have been cited for wearing skirts or shorts that did not reach mid-thigh or fingertips.
OHS junior Kanalu Avery said the dress code was clearly aimed at women.
“This dress code has basically taken away our freedom of expression from clothing, taken away our ability to express ourselves fully, and caused many other problems in the daily lives of our students,” he said.
In a Facebook post, mother Elizabeth Vaugh reiterated that the code is biased against female students, but also forces parents to buy more clothes for their children.
“This dress code policy targets women. They added hoodies into the mix because they needed something worn primarily by men,” she said. “If the district wants that much control, it needs to move to uniforms. Parents return to school to do their shopping weeks before the start of the school year. Will they cover the cost of purchasing additional clothing options after classes start? »
Vaugh went to tag Oxford Superintendent Bradley Roberson in the post “…were uniforms even considered?”
Roberson, in a Facebook post, said hoodies were allowed.
“We just don’t want children wearing headgear (hats, balaclavas, etc.) so students can be easily identified. We can never be too safe,” he said.
Proponents against the dress code enforce say that almost no stores sell shorts that reach mid-thigh or even to the fingertips.
“A lot of students here think we’re sexualized and think the dress codes are unreasonable and stupid,” freshman Mary Kay Booker said in a post to The Eagle.
In a Snapchat update, Booker said, “There’s a problem with OSD if they find my clothes more important than my education. I came to school to learn academically, not to be told “my shorts are too short”.
Booker said some girls will be cited for wearing the prohibited clothing and some will not.
According to Booker, if students are coded for their clothes, they will be sent to the principal’s office and forced to wait for their parents to pick them up or bring them a change of clothes, causing them to miss class time.
“The administration at Oxford High School has a history of sexist code enforcement, and with the new administration it has only become more egregious,” Avery told The Eagle. “OHS defends their rules and intense punishments – immediate detention if you can’t change your clothes – saying it’s to protect girls from sexualisation and prevent classroom disruption.
“It is completely wrong to assume that male students even care. There will always be bad apples in a high school, no need to punish the group for their transgressions,” he continued. “We came here to learn, not to be objectified by the same people we’re supposed to respect.”
The OHS Senior Class of 2024 has reportedly created an online petition against the current dress code which currently has over 1,000 signatures from students and parents. Oxford High School dress code petition
The Oxford School District has not released an official statement on the matter at this time.