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Students calling for dress code reform in Duval County Schools

A protest took place Tuesday night at the Duval County Public Schools building.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of students are calling for changes to Duval County's dress code policy.  

An online petition started by Kennedy Murphy, a sophomore at Stanton College Preparatory School, states that the current policy negatively impacts female students by promoting a victim blaming based culture.

As of this writing, more than 1,600 people have signed the petition.

Murphy organized a protest Tuesday night at the Duval County Public School Building right before the monthly board meeting in order to pressure board members into enacting a change in the dress code policy.

The petition specifically calls for three changes to the dress code:

  • Allow tops that show shoulders
  • Allow midriff baring tops
  • Get rid of the fear of or actual unnecessary discipline or body shaming

"I think it's really bad for students' mental health," Murphy said.

She told First Coast News that she recently saw a female student cry after an administrator yelled at her for showing showing her shoulders.

Murphy and a handful of other female students also brought up their concerns about the dress code during the public comment section of the school board meeting Tuesday night.

"It is very embarrassing and it makes me feel horrible that I have been dress coded and I have been made to miss class time, because I decide to wear shorts in the Florida heat. God forbid someone sees my thighs ... as if they haven't seen anyone in a bikini." Douglas Anderson School of the Arts student Brianna Freeland said.

Last month, the neighboring St. Johns County school board unanimously voted to approve a new dress code policy after months of controversy.

One of the dress code issues in St. Johns County made international headlines when more than 80 female students at Bartram Trail High School found their yearbook photos edited to cover their chest.

RELATED: 'You've made them even more of a target': 83 high school girls have photos digitally altered to cover chest in St. Johns County yearbook

Hundreds of parents and students said the former policy sexualized female students and disproportionately targeted them. A Facebook group for changing the dress code reached more than 1,000 members.

The new dress code policy in St. Johns County includes no longer separating different dress code policy sections for boys and girls and removed measurement requirements for shorts, skirts, dresses.

RELATED: St. Johns County School Board unanimously votes to approve new dress code policy

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