CLOVIS, California. (KGPE) – A group of current and former Clovis Unified students are calling for changes to the district’s dress code policy, saying it unfairly targets students who identify as female, and certain body types.
“This isn’t preventing girls and feminine bodies from being looked at in a sexual way, it’s reinforcing it,” said Annie Nguyen, who recently graduated from Clovis High School.
An online petition has collected more than 2,400 signatures, with a list of demands including changes to the types of clothing allowed.
“We would like to see the vague language in the dress code removed, like ‘good taste’ or ‘distracting,’ ‘draws undue attention,’ because that’s up to anyone’s interpretation,” said Nguyen.
They’re also asking for changes to how dress code violations are handled.
“I see a lot of testimonies where staff don’t just punish them, but they make the extra point to verbally taunt them for what they’re wearing, saying things like, ‘How does your mother let you out looking like that?'” said Nguyen.
Many current and former Clovis Unified students shared their experiences at a district meeting last month.
“I want to present a student testimony from a junior at my former high school,” said one student. “‘My first time getting dress-coded was terrifying because it was my first day at Rayburn. I was wearing leggings and was told to go to the SRC. I was 12 and did not understand at the time why I couldn’t wear leggings. They told me, quote, ‘It’s because boys have grabby hands and wandering eyes.'”
Clovis Unified Chief Communications Officer Kelly Avants sent a statement, saying in part, “Our dress code plays an important role in creating an excellent learning environment for our students and is consistently highly supported by our parent community.”
Avants added that in 2021, 62% of parents indicated support for the dress code in annual parent surveys, but Nguyen said that’s not an accurate representation because only one-fifth of the surveys sent to parents were filled out.
Avants said a thorough review of the district’s dress code, specifically the requirements for leggings, will be conducted during the coming school year, gathering input from students, parents, and staff.