Some Sandalwood High students rip prom dress code

School almost turned away one student last year because of her dress length

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - They're not hemming and hawing about it. Sandalwood High School students have launched an online petition in response to the dress code for this year's prom.

According to a copy of the dress code, which surfaced on social media Tuesday evening, the school's policy bans casual wear, dresses deemed too revealing and head coverings.

The school, which almost turned away one student last year because of her dress length, also warns that students who don't follow the rules won't be allowed to go to the event.

A Duval County Public Schools spokesperson said students and staff formed a committee to come up with the rules. She noted that the policy does not apply to religious head wear.

Some students have been fashioning arguments against the dress code on Twitter. Another student took things a step further, starting a petition on Change.org to challenge the policy.

The common thread? Students don't want to be told what not to wear.

In her petition, Laurel Schmidt criticized the policy's restrictions, which she characterized as "discriminating and insulting" toward girls, whom she said struggle to find the right dress.

"It is already difficult to find a dress that a girl feels comfortable in and is at a decent price," Schmidt wrote, saying that the policy ignores the range of body types students have.

"I am not promoting or encouraging those who decide to wear obscene clothing, but more so protecting those who can't afford or feel comfortable within the harsh guidelines," she added.

Some students we spoke with agreed that the event is formal. Accordingly, they said, their peers should choose tasteful clothing.

"I think it's fair to a certain extent because some people wear things too short and it shows and it's kind of distracting," said junior Kristen Coleman, who's going to prom in April.

In addition to the petition, which racked up at least 70 signatures Wednesday afternoon, students have been mocking the dress code on Twitter with GIFs and memes.

Others just have simple demands.

We've included the entire statement from the school district below:

We always encourage and appreciate feedback from students. Students were instrumental in developing the prom dress code which was created in a collaborative effort by students and staff on the senior class committee. Additionally, an in-house survey was distributed to students earlier this month to provide students an opportunity to make recommendations regarding all on-campus activities, including prom. The school remains open to input from students, and is happy to provide clarification that the guideline regarding no head coverings does not apply to religious affiliations. This will be reflected in an updated poster and messaging to students. Prom is a special moment for the Sandalwood High School community and we strive to ensure a collaborative process by providing information well in advance of the event which is in April. We encourage students and families to reach out to school leaders directly to share their concerns, questions and feedback.

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