Clay County considers modifying 'violator' outfit


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a mother complained about Oakleaf High School forcing her daughter to wear bright clothes identifying her as a dress-code violator, clay county schools said they are looking at modifying its outfit.

Miranda Larkin admits she wore a shirt to school that was shorter than allowed, but when her mom found out she was forced to wear the neon-orange top and red pants advertising her rule violation, she called the policy an effort to humiliate students.

"My problem is with shaming kids," Dianna Larkin said Friday on The Morning Show. "I don't believe that's a punishment. I don't think there's an educational value to shaming or humiliating children."

The mom brought the handbook for her daughter's school with her. She says the rules don't list the other options her daughter should have been given other than wearing clothes that embarrassed her.

Dianna Larkin says she and her daughter just moved to Clay County from Seattle and they missed orientation at Oakleaf High.

Clay County's website lists the dress code, and it said skirts and shorts must not be shorter than 3 inches above the knee. Larkin admits the skirt was probably 4, maybe 5 inches above the knee, but below her fingertips.

"I was out of town, so if I had been home and saw her walk out the door, it probably would not have occurred to me," Diana Larkin said.

The school says teenagers violating the dress code are to be given three options: in-school suspension, a call to a parent to bring a change of clothes, or wear the brightly colored outfit. But Miranda Larkin told her mom that the school didn't give her any option but to wear the "violator" outfit.

Dianna Larkin believes disciplinary actions should be private, but by making someone wear that outfit, everyone knows.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous to put kids in something that is calling attention to them in an embarrassing or humiliating way," Dianna Larkin said.

A district spokesperson says they do not know if the nurse who gave Miranda Larkin the outfit told her she had three options, but it is school policy to do that. They say the 15-year-old changed into the clothes, but had a relative pick her up from school and never returned to class.

The spokesperson says the outfit is not intended to shame students, but they are now considering outfits that will not have the words "dress code violator" written on the shirt.

"We are open to solutions," school district spokesman Gavin Rollins said. "What we are committed to is keeping a safe, distraction free environment where students can learn and there is a level of discipline. We continue to review policies and procedures to make sure that they best align with that goal."

About the Author: