Mother says school district dress code unfair to girls

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FORT MILL, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina mother is asking her daughter's school district to change its dress code, saying it unfairly targets girls and is inconsistently enforced.

Fort Mill resident Mindy Neal tells The Herald of Rock Hill that she started the effort after her 13-year-old daughter was sent to the office two days in a row for clothing the school deemed inappropriate.

The Fort Mill school district, in a statement, says it is reviewing the dress code policy and its enforcement. The district says its policy is similar to those in other South Carolina districts that don't require uniforms.

The first time, Neal's eighth-grade daughter was told her shirt was not long enough to be worn with her leggings. The second time, the student was told the yoga-style pants she had on did not meet policy, Neal said.

Neal said her daughter's clothes were not see-through and she wore a buttoned-up jacket with the black yoga pants.

Fort Mill's dress code policy states that "tops must be long enough that they can be tucked into pants or shorts."

Other parents have similar concerns. An online petition complaining about the dress code has garnered more than 5,000 signatures, and some parents say they plan to address the issue at a Tuesday school board meeting

"We found that a lot of, in particularly girls, were being dress coded in middle schools," said Fort Mill parent and advocate Christine Dayton, who has two children in elementary school and a middle school student. "The dress code policy from school to school seemed to be inconsistent."

Neal said she struggles to meet the dress code, saying it's hard to find shorts and skirts for tall girls that meet a rule specifying they must be less than 4 inches above the knee. She said the goal is to create a dress code policy that is fair, "so that girls in the Fort Mill school district are not facing the humiliation my child felt and they aren't being held to a different standard than what the boys are,"

The district said its policy "is also designed to be gender-neutral and is applied equally to males and females.

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Information from: The Herald, http://www.heraldonline.com


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