St. Johns County School District releases dress code survey results

ST. JOHNS, Fla. — The results are in from a survey sent to St. Johns County parents about the school district’s dress code. But it’s not the answer some parents and students are looking for.

Most parents agreed on a majority of the eight questions, with hats being the only issue to divide respondents.

Riley O’Keefe was one of 80 girls whose picture was edited in the Bartram Trail High School yearbook. She took issue with the way some of the questions were worded.

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“It’s how the dress code makes women feel about our bodies. It’s how it sexualizes us not only by the school board, but society in general,” she said. “I don’t think pajamas, gang graffiti, hats and accessories like that really covered any of that.”

One of the questions reads, “Pajamas and lingerie shall not be worn as exterior clothing on campus.” Respondents had to agree or disagree.

“I remember being in school and having pajama day. There was nothing wrong with that. Obviously, I don’t want my daughter wearing lingerie to school, so I’m going to say no,” Riley’s mom, Stephanie Fabre, said.

Several comments in the open answer section argued there should be a uniform.

One parent wrote, “Adhering to dress code guidelines is challenging. I’m in favor of a school uniform like other neighboring counties.”

Another wrote, “Let’s not make clothing shopping a nightmare for families. Some children fall outside of the parameters of typical children’s sizes.”

Riley said a school uniform doesn’t get to the core of the issue.

“It would solve many of the issues with the dress code. Our issue isn’t the dress code — it’s how women’s bodies are viewed when they made the dress code,” she told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant.

There were 12,149 respondents on the survey that ended July 16.

In a statement, St. Johns County School District expressed, “The survey will allow us a good starting point as far as gathering feedback from parents and families.”

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A dress code committee meeting was scheduled but postponed. Action News Jax asked what would happen next now that the survey results are in, but we are still waiting on a response.

Riley and Fabre said they will keep fighting.

“It doesn’t solve the gender inequality issues. It doesn’t solve the fact that girls are feeling sexualized. They’re feeling looked at differently,” Fabre said.