VERSAILLES — A Woodford County High School junior proposed changes Monday to the dress code that had caused a furor on social media in recent days.
A committee of the school's site-based decision-making council will consider the proposal from Maggie Sunseri, 16, and report back on Sept. 21.
Sunseri's proposal drew approval from Stacie Dunn, the mother whose Facebook post and online petition on Change.org seeking support to alter the dress code attracted thousands of comments from around the country and the world. More than 3,600 people had signed the online petition by Monday night, but it wasn't clear how many of those live in Woodford County.
In any case, Dunn said, she was pleased that the council was willing to consider changes to the policy.
Never miss a local story.
"I'm glad they're willing to take a look at it," she said.
Among the criteria in the Woodford County High dress code is that students must wear a rounded crewneck shirt or a button-down shirt that may have only the top button open. Shirts must not expose the collarbone. Shorts and skirts must be knee-length or longer.
During the last school year, Sunseri produced a documentary for filmmaking class in which female students alleged gender bias. Titled Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code, it has been viewed by thousands on YouTube.
Under Sunseri's proposal, "necklines should drop no lower than the length of a credit card positioned at the base of the collarbone."
Shorts, skirts and dress hemlines would follow a fingertip rule. Sunseri explained that this way: "You're standing up and you put your arms down by your sides straight, and wherever your fingertips land is where the length of your skirt should be."
Council member Matt Merrill, who was among those who drafted the current policy 11 years ago, said the intent was to have standards that could be measured "at a glance" and so students could return to learning quickly.
Principal Rob Akers said he wanted people to know that collarbones were never seen as "sexual or dirty in this building" but were merely a reference to judge whether the policy was met.
Council member and teacher Susan Carey said the current policy allows people to "eyeball" whether a student was in compliance.
Akers said he polled faculty over the weekend and said more than half supported going to uniforms.
"If you want change, watch what you ask for. You might get it," he said.
On the other hand, Akers thanked Sunseri for writing an alternative policy. "I don't want a school of automatons that never question anything," he said.
Dunn, the mother who initiated the call for change, started the ball rolling last week when her daughter, Stephanie Hughes, 17, was sent to the school office because her collarbone wasn't covered.
Dunn said that when she got to school there were about 10 girls in the office who were found not to be in compliance, including one "standing at the counter crying." Dunn brought a scarf for her daughter to wear, but that was not within dress code, either. Hughes said she was sent home because she was frustrated and said some things to Akers. Hughes said she later apologized to Akers.
Hughes said Sunseri's proposal "is very reasonable. If this is put into effect, it is going to be much easier for boys and girls to find clothes and to look good in clothes that they are wearing."
Hughes said she and her mother "never imagined" the dress-code controversy would "blow up as much as it did."
If there is a lesson to be learned from this episode, Hughes said, it was that "mom needs to learn to be less outspoken."