FORNEY, Texas – A North Texas school district is under fire for a new student dress code that bans the use of hoodies and limits who can wear dresses, skirts and skorts.
Forney Independent School District, located east of Dallas, made two significant changes for the upcoming school year, which is scheduled to start on Aug. 11.
No clothing with hoods (such as hoodies, jackets, coats, etc.) may be worn inside FISD buildings at any time and dresses, skirts and skorts are only allowed for Pre-K through 4th-grade students, according to the new dress code policy.
FISD officials released a statement regarding the changes saying the dress code “is established to improve student self-esteem, bridge socio-economic differences among students, and promote positive behavior, thereby enhancing school safety and improving the learning environment.”
This new policy has outraged students and parents alike and spurred FISD high schooler Brooklynn Hollaman to start an online petition on change.org.
“Any sensible person can realize that this is completely wrong,” Hollaman said of the new dress code.
She told WFAA she thinks students should be allowed to wear the now-banned clothing as long as it’s appropriate.
“I even have a little sister that can’t wear skirts anymore,” Hollaman told WFAA.
Comments on the district’s Facebook page regarding the new dress code have also been scathing, with many commenters demanding a response to the backlash.
FISD officials also posted a YouTube video regarding the dress code on Wednesday.
In the video, a young student can be heard saying “I may be a little young to understand what professionalism means right now, but the skills I’m learning are an essential part of being successful in my future career” as she lays clothes out on her bed.
“Every profession has a dress code, whether it’s scrubs, a welding helmet, or a chef’s apron,” she says. “The way I dress plays an important role in professionalism and safety, both in the classroom and on the job site.”
Forney ISD Superintendent Justin Terry appears halfway through the video and says, “things like creativity and collaboration are so important, but what’s also important are some of the foundational baseline employability skills.”
“We are so excited to reset this bar with you - with our parents, with our community members, with all of our business partners - as we work together to take our schools, our classrooms back for the future of our kids to have a safe, enjoyable and excitable learning environment in Forney ISD,” said Terry.
The statement released by FISD says the dress code “gives the district a positive and distinctive identity and reflects the values of the schools and community. All students are required to wear the appropriate dress each day except for those days designated as non-dress code days at the discretion of the school administrators.”
School spirit hoodies have previously been sold for FISD, although it’s not clear if that option is still available.
FISD officials have yet to respond to the backlash regarding the new dress code.