Texas School District Bans Dresses & Skirts to Promote ‘Professionalism’

Forney ISD/YouTube
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A North Texas school district recently updated its dress code for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, and it has parents and students up in arms. The Forney Independent School District (FISD) has decided that wearing skirts, skorts and dresses isn’t “professional,” so students are no longer allowed to wear them after fourth grade.

The new dress code actually institutes a uniform policy and requires students to wear solid-colored shirts, pants, shorts or capri pants in specific colors. It also outlaws jeans, hooded clothing like jackets and sweatshirts, sleeveless shirts, t-shirts, overalls or clothing with holes in it.

The announcement was accompanied by a video that is narrated by a “student” who supports the new guidelines. “I may be a little young to understand what professionalism means right now but the skills I’m learning are an essential part of being successful in my future career. Every profession has a dress code, whether it’s scrubs, a welding helmet or chef’s apron. The way I dress plays an important role in professionalism and safety both in the classroom and on the job site,” they say.

Well hopefully, no one wants to be a professional fashion designer or attorney or one of a dozen other careers, since they won’t be able to dress the part. Clearly, the district hasn’t heard of the power suit.

In the comments of a petition started to combat the new guidelines, one commenter states: “It is insulting to insinuate that a woman cannot be professional in a skirt or dress. I have worked my entire life as a professional woman and wear nothing but skirts. Unacceptable.”

The new guidelines appear to be a thinly veiled attempt at further restricting the dress code for girls, something that has been going on for years. While they do address the issue of hooded clothing, like sweatshirts and jackets, the majority of the new policies impact more female-leaning styles.

As education reform expert Dr. Adrienne Dixson noted to Fatherly, “While most rules for boys concern the types of shirts and slacks they should wear in the case of uniforms (e.g., t-shirts don’t have offensive language on them), girls have many more specific rules: no form-fitting clothing. No spaghetti straps. No skirts above the knee… It’s as if the body, for young girls, is a liability, and that liability will prevent the boys around them from learning.”

But the National Women’s Law Center conducted a study back in 2018 that demonstrated how strict dress codes tended to ban “forms of student expression that pose no threat to classmates’ safety or ability to learn.”

FISD sophomore Brooklyn Hollaman—and many other students—simply believe they should be able to dress in a reasonable fashion. She told WFAA that as long as the logos are appropriate and skirts and dresses aren’t too short, they should be allowed.

Her dad, Derick Hollaman also weighed in. “A young lady should be able to choose what she wears. They shouldn’t be forced to wear pants.” In response to the dress code, Brooklyn started the petition mentioned above to revert to the old guidelines and has already received close to 4,000 signatures. The petition is also shedding light on other issues the dress code impacts.

Parents and students bring up the fact that their special needs children find comfort in hooded clothing, that certain religious beliefs prefer long dresses and skirts to pants for girls and that the new uniforms require parents to spend money they don’t have.

Time will tell if the FISD listens to the voices of its parents and students. It also remains unclear if educators and administrators will be able to wear dresses and skirts. After all, they’re not in fourth grade anymore.


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