Do you agree with the school's decision to send home kids?
DUNCANVILLE — About 170 children were sent home Wednesday over violations of the dress code at Duncanville High School.
The large group of students were gathered into the school's cafeteria in the morning and told to go home for violations ranging from wearing a gray sweatshirt to not wearing a name tag.
According to school officials, the school does large sweeps targeting students not in compliance about three to four times a year. It's part of the school's zero tolerance policy started in 2003. During that year, more than 700 students were suspended during a two-month period over dress code violations.
Under the policy, students face a one-day suspension for a first offense, two days for a second and more than two days plus a loss of school privileges for a third offense.
"We didn't lose control, but some of our kids chose to make bad choices," said Principal Andre Smith.
News 8 pressed Smith about maintaining control of the situation, but he continued to say the students made bad choices.
"We are responsible for maintaining order yes. Ultimately, yes, I am," he said. "As the principal at Duncanville High School, I am responsible for maintaining order here."
However, students at the school said they were unaware of the school's sharp focus on attire.
"It hasn't been enforced all year," said Edward Ramirez, an 11th-grade student. "And we've actually never been given a warning before this."
Under the school's dress code, students aren't allowed to wear clothing with logos or designs, belts are required and skirts and dresses must be "hemmed at or below the bend of the knee." Students aren't allowed to wear denim or sweatshirts that aren't solid white or navy.
Student Marcela Guerrero said the school was doling out suspensions for even minor infractions.
"I’m wearing a white-collared shirt, which is part of what needs to be worn, khakis, a belt," she said. "The only thing I’m lacking is the ID badge."
Ramirez said he was removed from school for wearing a school spirit shirt on a day it was not allowed.
“It is a bit harsh, and I do understand that is a rule that they have to enforce, but they should’ve warned us," he said.
Principal Smith said there have three or four enforcement sweeps this year, but with far fewer punishments. He also said some students were allowed to return today after correcting the problem.
"We have high expectations for our kids. We enforce dress code everyday," he said. "And not just dress code. Every policy and procedure we enforce everyday."
Many took to social media to express their thoughts on the suspensions.
"Consistency is important," said Malcom Chakery on WFAA's Facebook page. "If they were consistent from the start this would not be an issue."
In another argument, Misty Thompson backed the school's choice.
"That is why we have rules," she wrote on Facebook. "If there is a dress code, they should have to follow it. There is a dress code for most jobs."