Lee County student says dress code is sexist, wants policy changes

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
High school student Mar Perez launched a petition to change Lee County Schools dress code policies she feels are unjust and particularly sexist toward female students. Credit: WINK News.

Students are stepping up against what they call discrimination.

Thousands of Lee County school students say the dress code policies are unjust, especially against young girls and say the policy goes too far.

High school student Mar Perez launched a petition that already has close to 3,000 signatures. She claims The School District of Lee County’s dress code targets girls unfairly and forces them to miss too much class.

Perez used the words sexist, unjust and discriminatory to describe Lee County Schools’ dress code.

“Boys don’t get dress coded as often, and when we are dress coded, we’re usually made to feel shameful for what we’re wearing,” Perez said. “If a boy wears that same exact top or same exact shorts, it wouldn’t be distracting.”

The dress code prohibits tank tops, crop tops, ripped jeans and any garments that are too short or too long.

On top of that, a new rule says those in violation must wait in the school office until someone brings them clothes from home.

“A lot of students at every single school in Lee County have parents that are working and that can’t get there instantly,” Perez said. “And so since the girls are usually the ones that are more likely to get dress coded, I felt that it was taking away from our education.”

So Perez, who said she’s been accused of violating dress code twice, started this petition that demands Lee County Schools loosen up the dress code, allow tank tops, ripped jeans and some crop tops.

Nearly 3,000 students, teachers and parents have signed the petition.

“Nobody would be distracted, and it wouldn’t take away time from our learning environment, to take us into an office where we have to sit for hours,” Perez said.

The District declined when we asked for a response to the petition.

Instead, a spokesman pointed us to page 94 of the student code of conduct, which says personal appearance should not disrupt the educational process.

The District said the goal is for students to dress for success.

Perez said she hopes to meet with school board members to argue her case.

“My goal is to create a dress code that we can feel comfortable in, but still with respects to the school,” Perez said.

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