FORT MILL, S.C. — Dozens of parents and students packed the Fort Mill School Board meeting Tuesday, demanding that leaders review and edit their dress code district-wide.
"Don't tell me that I'm a distraction," said Lucy Drew, a sixth-grader in the district.
Five people spoke, but it was standing room only in the room. Some people wore shirts saying, "I am not a distraction."
"I was pulled aside as I was walking in the commons and they held up a ruler to my skirt to measure the length," said a student's mother, Megan, as she read personal stories she's heard from current and former students.
The outcry was centered around the district's dress code. Many parents believe it's unfair to girls and can create lasting negative impacts on them.
"We have seen that girls are dress-coded at a larger number than the boy," said Christy Harder, a parent in the district.
"It causes them stress, it causes them confusion, it causes body-image issues," added Gretchen Kelly, another mother.
The dress code policy for grades 6 through 12 calls for bottoms that are no shorter than four inches above the knee. Tops must be long enough to tuck in, and no see-through garments or tank tops can be worn.
Parents said the clothes that are allowed after being put through the rule checklist are hard to find at a number of stores.
However, the district believes the rules are fair.
"I think if you read our dress code, it's actually gender-neutral," said Joe Burke, Chief Communication Officer for Fort Mill Schools.
In response to the call for action, the board chair said she will get the board to review the dress code policy and that the public will be involved in some capacity in the process.
"We review a subset of policies each year, and I’ve asked the Administration to include the Dress Code policy in this year’s review, including its implementation, and to ensure it is being applied equally regardless of gender. If at the end of that review there are any recommendations for changes, the Administration will bring those back to the Board for further review and discussion," Board Chair Kristy Spear said.
There is no word on when the board will take up the matter.