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'It's been a problem in our culture': St. Johns Co. student calling for more gender equality in school dress code

Earlier this week, First Coast News reported data that shows female students are disproportionately given dress code violations.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A St. Johns County student delivered a powerful speech during a school board meeting this week about the issue of dress code violations.

Hundreds of parents and students have been fighting in recent months against what they call a 'sexist school dress code' in St. Johns County.

“We are high school students from ages 14 to 18, and the school gives us the responsibility of adult but compel us to live under the rules and regulations of a child," Bartram Trail High School sophomore Laila Khazravan explained. "Although, perpetuating sexist standards is a complication in this very county – doesn't doubt the fact that it is nationwide."

Khazravan took the mic on Tuesday to be the voice for all female students.

“It felt very powerful," she described. "And it felt like I'm taking initiative to make a change."

Khazravan, who is tired of seeing only girls regularly pulled from class said she has been disciplined for dress code at least 10 times this school year. One day, she was sent to the dean’s office because her leggings were too tight.

“It ruins my whole day, and I have to miss out on learning and classes," she explained. "And I fall behind just because what I was wearing.“

She believes being called out in class is more of a ‘distraction’ than what she and other female students wear.

First Coast News reported earlier this week that 90% of dress code violations at Bartram Trail High School in March were for girls, according to district records.

For the entire school year up until about February, 83% of dress code violations at nearly all the schools were for girls.

“I would like to see a slight change, at least, when it comes to men and women and equality," Khazravan said.

The St. Johns County school district has said dress code changes can be brought up when the student code of conduct is reviewed this summer. This week, it told First Coast News that updates to the dress code are expected.

Khazravan hopes the district and students can meet in the middle and give – women in particular – more leniency.

“It's not going to be a fast process. Obviously, that's not what I'm looking for," she said. "But, I do want the school board members to take this seriously because this is a big deal. It's been a problem in our culture for so long."

An online petition to change the dress code now has more than 4,500 signatures.