Some parents call St. Johns County School District’s dress code policy ‘sexist’ and want it changed

St. Johns County, FL. — Some parents in St. Johns County are calling the school district’s dress code policy “sexist” and are pushing for it to change.

Taryn O’Keefe has two children who go to Bartram Trail High School. She said she feels the dress code policy targets teen girls more so than guys.

“It’s disproportionately focusing on females,” O’Keefe said. “The dress code is definitely more strict for females.”

O’Keefe and another parent created a Facebook page called “St. Johns County School District: Change the Dress Code.”

The group has grown to more than 760 members.

The dress code policy in the St. Johns County School District 2020-21 Code of Conduct address all students.

It also has a separate section for girls and boys.

Standards: Boys

  • Boy’s pants/slacks must be worn at the waist. No boxer shorts or underwear may be visible.
  • Mustaches and beards shall be neatly trimmed.
  • Revealing clothing and pajamas are not acceptable

Standards: Girls

  • Tops and shirts must cover the entire shoulder and they must be modest and not revealing or distracting.
  • Midriff or “cut‐out” dresses and “cut out” tops may not be worn.
  • Extremely short skirts are not allowed.
  • Skirts must be no shorter than four inches (4″) above the top of the knee.
  • Revealing clothing, pajamas and lingerie are not acceptable. Underwear must not be exposed.
  • Hair curlers and excessive make‐up shall not be permitted.
  • Girls’ pants/slacks must be worn at the waist. No underwear may be exposed.

O’Keefe said the words “modest” “not distracting” unfairly targets teen girls. “It’s absolutely sexist,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe said Action News Jax requested records from the St. Johns County School District and found in March, 54 students received dress code violations at Bartram Trail High School.

Of those, 49 were girls, or nearly 91%.

In February, 10 students were sent to the deans for violating the dress code of which 80% were female students.

O’Keefe said her daughter started a petition to get the dress code in St. Johns County changed. (LINK: https://www.change.org/p/tim-forson-dress-code-bths-and-st-john-s-county?redirect_reason=not-identified&use_react=false )

So far, it’s collected more than 4,400 signatures.

O’Keefe and other parents are calling for the dress code policy to be more gender neutral.

The St. Johns County School District said it will review its Student Code of Conduct, including the dress code policy, in May.

If any changes are suggested, they would go before the school board in June.