PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Parents are expressing their frustration about a new dress code at Pasco County Schools.
Dozens of parents have posted concerns on social media only days into the new school year. The new policy states that shirts must have straps and extend to the waist.
“We got a call on a Sunday night before school started telling us to review the dress code, that changes have been made, that no longer crop tops or straps showing are allowed,” Donna said. “I don’t know about most parents, but all of our back to school shopping had been done well in advance of the first week of school.”
Donna said school officials went into her daughter’s class and made them all stand for inspection, pulling kids out of class to change.
Another parent said she feels the policy targets girls after she claimed she received a phone call from the principal saying they were handing out shirts to girls if their shirts did not cover their stomach.
Melanie Waxler, Director of Strategic Communications with Pasco County Schools, emailed a statement regarding the concerns.
“This policy was voted on and approved by our board before the 2023/2024 school year. This means it was effective from the first day of school. Parents were sent communications regarding the change through various channels prior to the school year beginning. This is a new policy, and we are working with each school on how to enforce the policy properly. We are addressing this to ensure all schools are in line with correct procedures and that includes a discussion about the dress code with students who do not follow it. We also ask for support from our parents, so their children arrive at school following the updated dress code policy.”
According to school policy, “students in violation of the dress code will be required to change into appropriate clothing.”
Discipline for not following the dress code includes:
• first offense, the student will be given a verbal warning and school staff will call the student’s parent or guardian.
• second offense, the student is ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activity for a period of time not to exceed five (5) days and school staff will meet with the student’s parent or guardian.
• third or subsequent offense, the student will receive an in-school suspension for a period not to exceed three (3) days, the student is ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activity for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days, and school staff will call the student’s parent or guardian and send the parent or guardian a written letter regarding the student’s in-school suspension and ineligibility to participate in extracurricular activities.
Parents can express concerns at the next school board meeting on Aug. 22.