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St. Johns County School Board to review dress code changes at Tuesday workshop

More than a month after the school board was originally set to vote on dress code changes, members will review more dress code proposals.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The dress code is one step closer to changing for St. Johns County Schools. The school board is meeting for a workshop Tuesday at 4 p.m. 

Review of the dress code survey results and proposed changes are on the agenda. Because it is a workshop, the board cannot take action, but there is a meeting directly following the workshop.

However, the dress code is not on the agenda for that meeting. It will most likely be on the agenda for a vote at the next school board meeting Aug. 10, about a week before the start of the new school year.

The presentation is public online and shows a proposed wording that would address all students. The current code has separate sections for girls and boys. 

All students, however, would have to wear shorts or skirts that have at least a 5 inch inseam or hit at mid-thigh as well as covering their body from armpit to mid-thigh. Previously, parents and students who are raising concerns over the dress code have asked for the measurement requirement to be removed altogether. 

The proposed wording also requires straps on all tops. 

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Another slide on the presentation focuses on enforcement and intention of the dress code. One bullet point says "Enforcement focus is on positive guidance without embarrassment to the student and does not disrupt the educational process."

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Credit: SJCD

The wording of the proposed dress code follows the controversy at Bartram Trail High School, where more than 80 yearbook photos of female students were altered to cover cleavage and shoulders, despite the fact these students say they were in compliance with the dress code on the day the photos were taken.

Public records show that female students district-wide were disproportionately targeted for dress code violations. 

Multiple female students and parents have spoken up about the sexualization of female students because of the dress code and it’s unfair enforcement. 

Senior Director of School Services Paul Abbatinozzi will present the recommended revisions and survey results Tuesday afternoon. You can look at the presentation here.