ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Between making headlines and a federal investigation, the dress code controversy in St. Johns County School District has been the center of attention for a while. Now, the district has sent out a survey looking for parent feedback.
There are nine questions and a space for feedback in the survey. The survey asks for agreement or disagreement on many things, including the idea of wearing pajamas or lingerie to school and gang graffiti written on clothing or school supplies.
“I feel like the questions are written for a certain response,” Bartram Trail High School student Riley O’Keefe said.
The survey comes just a month after a federal discrimination investigation was launched regarding the dress code.
O’Keefe was one of 80 girls to have their yearbook photo edited at Bartram Trail High School and thinks the survey didn’t do the job.
“It didn’t really make a lot of sense for the issue we have with the dress code,” O’Keefe said. “It didn’t include anything about the width of shoulder length of the sleeve, it didn’t include stomach area, and this didn’t make sense to me, the armpit area.”
The survey asks for the opinion of clothing covering from one armpit to the other. An example from it says, “Clothing must cover areas from one armpit to the other armpit, down to 5 inches in length on the upper thigh. Tops must have shoulder straps and be long enough to adequately cover the waistline and not expose midriff.*”
O’Keefe’s mother, Stephanie Fabre said 10 questions do not cut it.
“10 questions are not enough to cover the entire issue,” she said.
Parents say a dress code committee was supposed to meet Thursday, June 3 but was canceled at the last minute and has not been rescheduled. Fabre says the survey was a step in the wrong direction.
“It did feel like a step back, it felt like a way out of having this committee of parents and students that could’ve really put some insight into this and actually could’ve created a better survey,” Fabre said.
Amongst several questions asked, Action News Jax reached out to the district, looking for comment on the specific reason for the survey’s purpose and if the meeting would be rescheduled. A district spokesperson said, “I’ll get all this to you next week.”
Zoe Lannone is another student at Bartram Trail HS who had her yearbook photo digitally altered. Her mother provided a statement to Action News Jax. It reads in part:
“It is very disappointing that the school board has already failed to follow through on their first commitment which was to form a committee that includes students and parents to focus on the issue. This survey was a complete surprise to us all and would have been much better informed and constructed had the school board followed through on their initial promise. So we are forced to see this as another sign of protected and perpetual arrogance and unwillingness to be accountable and create real change.”
Parents have until July 16 to submit their responses.
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