Education

Georgetown Middle School sixth-graders protest leggings policy

Stefani Decot, left, and Amanda Cochran, sixth-graders at Georgetown Middle School, were found in violation of the school dress code when they wore outfits that included leggings. The length of their shirts was at issue, school officials said.
Stefani Decot, left, and Amanda Cochran, sixth-graders at Georgetown Middle School, were found in violation of the school dress code when they wore outfits that included leggings. The length of their shirts was at issue, school officials said. Photo provided

Ten to 15 girls at Georgetown Middle School, mostly sixth-graders, staged a protest Friday by wearing outfits with leggings that school officials found in violation of the school dress code.

Renee Holmes, Scott County Schools spokeswoman, said girls are allowed to wear leggings as long as an acceptably long shirt is worn with them.

Parents Debbie Cochran and Michelle Decot said they thought their daughters, sixth-graders Stefani Decot and Amanda Cochran, were wearing shirts that were long enough to cover their backsides. School officials said the outfits violated the dress code.

“My understanding is that the tops were not long enough,” Holmes said. Decot provided a copy of the school dress code for 2016-17 that put “body conforming” leggings under the heading “inappropriate.”

Stefani Decot’s father, Donavan Decot, wrote a letter to school officials on Friday which said Stefani “has our full support in her peaceful protest today.”

He said in the letter his daughter “had developed a way to bring awareness to the faculty in a peaceful and a non-destructive manner.”

The Decots said they were encouraging their daughter to “raise awareness” of a dress code that they think is unfair to girls.

Holmes said Georgetown Middle School’s school-based decision-making council, which includes parents, sets dress codes for students and that the dress code for leggings had not changed in the four years principal Cari Boyd had been at the school.

Cochran said the problem began Monday when her daughter was found in violation of the dress code because her leggings did not have pockets,. That prompted the other girls to wear leggings on Friday in protest, Cochran said. Holmes said there was no language about pockets on leggings in the school’s policy.

The students were given the option of changing clothes at school, and several did, Holmes said. Some students had parents bring clothes to them, and others wore clothing provided by the school.

Others changed to clothes that they already had with them in their lockers, she said. About three girls, including Stefani and Amanda, chose to go home rather than change clothes, with parents picking them up at school, Holmes said. “I can reassure you that no student was sent home from school and no child received any disciplinary action today due to dress code,” Boyd said in an email Friday night.

Stefani Decot said the dress code “is unfair in general” because boys were not similarly affected. Amanda said leggings were comfortable and more “expressive” than jeans.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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