Gainesville Girl Scouts Troop petitions to improve Alachua County Community Schools’ costume code

Portia Espinosa felt uncomfortable when a trainer publicly named her out in front of her

Portia Espinosa felt uncomfortable when a trainer publicly named her out in front of her friends for donning a best revealing her shoulders in violation of dress code.

“It was in the center of the cafeteria when just about every one university student in my quality was in there,” the now 14-12 months-aged Newberry Substantial University freshman reported. “It’s embarrassing. No a single needs to get dress coded or referred to as out or put in entrance of everyone.”  

Now, Portia is banding alongside one another with Woman Scouts Troop 224 to reform the society all-around Alachua County Public Schools’ costume code. The ladies are working with this exertion to achieve their Silver Award, an honor that signifies profitable completion of a local community support challenge.  

As the dress code stands nowadays, the group sees it as unjust and discriminatory from girls. 

The troop compiled facts from students throughout ACPS in help of their views about the gown code. 

Extra than 100 pupils responded to a Google Type with concerns about how several periods an personal has been gown coded, their consolation level when costume coded and irrespective of whether they’ve received a referral for way too lots of costume code violations. 

Of the 24 males surveyed, 17% were being gown coded, according to their facts. In comparison,  71% of 126 females surveyed were gown coded.          

The group garnered much more than 1,600 signatures in a petition advocating for a committee to look into costume code issues in the county. They’d like to see far more non-discriminatory gown code policies as perfectly as discreet enforcement and a lot less harsh punishments. As composed, the costume code allows for learners to “be questioned to go away an right after-college activity” if they violate its principles and enables for further consequences if violations keep on.

On the web page exactly where they compiled their information, the troop laid out a revised dress code, which incorporates modifications such as eliminating the need that clothes not be “oversized” and trousers not “baggy.” The ladies also want to take away current conditions about the donning of outer clothes such as jackets and sweaters.   

All three women spearheading the effort and hard work — Portia, Josie Kirwan and Bella Cline — agreed younger men and women should really be eager to talk up and consider a stand on matters that issue them.

Josie, a 14-year-outdated Gainesville Substantial University freshman and member of the troop, thinks an update to ACPS’ gown code is long overdue.  

“The major points that we have a trouble with in the costume code is that it’s sexist, and it targets bigger women,” Josie claimed.

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The group’s results show ACPS learners who weigh about 123 lbs have been dress coded 6 or a lot more occasions in the college calendar year although pupils weighing about 115 pounds have been costume coded about two or a few moments.

The women are also involved the enforcement procedures relating to the costume code are too rigorous.  

Their examine uncovered 31% of surveyed pupils who had been costume-coded ended up not permitted to participate in each day college functions simply because of what they ended up wearing. 

“I think that the dress code is far more of a distraction for pupils than the garments could ever be,” Josie stated, pointing out that violations could direct to learners being taken out of the classroom.

They are also worried that costume-coding often takes place in public, regularly top to embarrassment for the learners included. Their facts shows a lot more than 90% of pupils surveyed have stories like Espinosa’s where the costume code was enforced in front of other individuals relatively than in a one particular-on-one setting. 

Jessica Kirwan, Josie’s 42-year-previous mother, reported the troop managed to converse their considerations before in the 12 months to Donna Kidwell-Diehlman, the former ACPS government director of Excellent Student Schooling and Pupil Support Providers.  

Thanks to variations initiated by new Superintendent Carlee Simon, Kidwell-Diehlman was no for a longer time doing the job there at the finish of June. Simon did not renew the contracts of a amount of ACPS officers which include Deanna Feagin, the Glen Springs Elementary principal, and Thomas Cowart, the director of servicing and building.  

Kirwan reported the troop needs to locate a new speak to at the college board so they can submit their dress code proposals.

Bella, a 13-12 months-old eighth-grader at P.K. Yonge Developmental University, believes the dress code procedures undermine the academic purpose university is meant to serve thanks to its robust aim on students’ apparel.  

“I consider that it targets women in unique, and it distracts from the reality that we’re supposed to be understanding, and we’re not coming to school for clothing,” Bella stated.

Bella is passionate about creating a big difference. 

“Personally, I would just say to go for it if you come to feel strongly about it and it is anything that’s impacting you or persons that you know,” she said. “Somebody has to start off to make a change, and that may well as nicely be you.”

Call Omar Ateyah at [email protected] Observe him on Twitter @OAteyah.

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Omar Ateyah

Omar is a next-year journalism major and news assistant for The Alligator.  He enjoys going on long, considerate walks.