School changes graduation dress requirement after complaint

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A parent challenged her daughter's school after the teen was told she would not be able to walk at graduation unless she wore a dress. Soon after First Coast News started looking into the school's dress code, the school's policy was changed.

On May 30, Shyanna Hake-Boyett will be the first grandchild to graduate on her mother's side of the family, and up until Friday afternoon, she thought she was not going to be allowed to walk with her class at the Orange Park High School ceremony.

"I almost started crying," said Hake-Boyett.

For years OPHS has had a strict graduation dress code. Girls wear a dark colored dress with black shoes, boys wear black dress pants, white collared shirt, and a dark colored tie.

"Requiring only girls to wear dresses, it's very sexist and it violates my daughter's rights and I'm here for her and if no one else stands up for her I will," said Christy Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says she contacted the school last week and had not heard back until First Coast News started investigating the issue and learned the Principal made a decision to change the graduation dress code policy.

"It's been busy, but I talked to the parent for the very first time today [Friday] after school and we simply had a good 15 -20 minute conversation. She explained her concerns, I looked at all the facts, and made a decision," said Principal Treasure Pickett, Orange Park High School.

Principal Pickett says it was just a matter of no one ever complaining about it before. Hake-Boyett was relieved after hearing about the change.

"Walking with my class and graduating, it's a huge deal to me now," added Hake-Boyett.

"It's one time that I'm going to be able to watch my daughter walk across that stage and get her high school diploma and that's very important to me and its very important to her and we're very proud of her," added Rodriguez.

We looked into other schools and Clay High School also requires girls wear dresses and boys wear slacks. In Duval County, Baldwin High School also requires girls to wear dresses. If any parents or students have issues with the dress code policies, they should contact their Principal.


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