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'Perpetuating sexist standards': St. Johns County student delivers powerful speech about dress code inequalities

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

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A sophomore at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County delivered a powerful speech Tuesday during a school board meeting about the issue of dress code violations.

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

We first told you about this in January and since then, data from a public records request shows female students are disproportionately given dress code violations.

RELATED: Public records show more dress code violations for female students in St. Johns County schools

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Laila Khazravan took to the podium to deliver a powerful speech in opposition of the increased violations and calls for a change to be made to the Student Code of Conduct.

"The message I'm here to deliver is not one of just my own, I'm also speaking for all the young females that could not be here today," Khazravan began. "My intention is to shed some light on the very serious issue of inequality amongst young women, such as myself in St. Johns County School District..."

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"The purpose of my appeal is to address some holes in the Student Code of Conduct... with that being said, us women are all growing in many ways and unfortunately face sexual objectification on a day-to-day basis. The standards for girls versus boys dress attire include a significant difference. The Code of Conduct is definitely a great form of structure, but the way of enforcement has room for improvement. Suppose that a female has half an inch of her stomach showing or her shoulder out, the distraction is immensely inferior to pulling the student out of class to go change to a big t-shirt, their gym clothes or sending them home. Many males wear short shorts shorter than four inches above the knee and some summer tank tops to school but it is neglected by all administration. On the other hand, the plot changes when it comes to women. Furthermore, our body shapes and sizes determine whether the garments are acceptable or not. Many of the women are sexually objectified by teachers and students"

Khazravan says one of the most recent incidents brought to her attention occurred on Friday, March 26 when a freshman that attends Bartram Trail High School was forced to unzip her jacket after she stated she only had a sports bra underneath. 

The male teacher then had her go to the office to then be inspected by others who took her clothes, which consisted of her sports bra and jacket, and she was left with a T-shirt, Khazravan explains.

"...The school gives us the responsibility of adult but compels us to live under the rules and regulations of a child although perpetuating sexist standards is a complication in this very county....after scratching the surface of a truly deeper issue, I want to thank you all for giving me the time to speak here today. I realize and acknowledge that I'm very blessed to have the opportunity to attend the number one school district in the state of Florida. So I invite you to start the growth process from here and strive to be the top school district in the nation. Thank you."

The petition to change the district's dress code has more than 4,000 signatures. A student at Bartram Trail High School created the petition in late March.


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