FORNEY, Texas — Trustees for the Forney Independent School District got an earful from parents Monday night after the district released a new dress code last week that bans hoodies, denim, dresses, skirts and/or 'skorts' for a large number of students.
It was the first board meeting since the district released the new seven-page dress code. A petition started by incoming 10th grader Brooklynn Hollaman to change or do away with the new dress code has already reached over 5,000 signatures.
Per the district, no clothing with hoods is allowed any longer inside schools. That includes hoodies or jackets and coats with hoods.
Dresses, skirts, and skorts are only allowed for pre-k through fourth grade students only.
In the statement below, Forney ISD rationalized why the dress code was changing:
"The use of a school dress code is established to improve student self-esteem, bridge socio-economic differences among students, and promote positive behavior, thereby enhancing school safety and improving the learning environment."
The district also said in a video that the new dress code would help teach professionalism.
Hollaman wore a dress to Monday's meeting, addressing the board about the new dress code to prove that many successful women wear dresses and skirts daily.
"I don't agree with it," Hollaman said. "Hopefully, they'll change their mind, a lot of people are on my side right now. I think the dress code is unfair, and I'm wearing this dress tonight to contradict what the district is stating."
Forney Mayor Pro-Tem James Traylor spoke before the board, as well.
Traylor has a daughter within the district.
"I don't think any man should be telling a woman what they should wear," Traylor said. "I work with women daily, and they wear dresses, skirts, and they're professional."
"I think this is asinine," Traylor said.
The district can make an exception for specific clothing if a parent petitions for it.
But one parent in the public forum asked, "Do I really need to request permission for my girl to be a girl?"
Other parents said they felt blindsided.
Christian Reed has a child within the district, as well. Reed told WFAA that he fails to understand how the new dress code will keep schools safe and that now he has to purchase a whole new wardrobe for school.
"I think it's putting a huge limit on kids and children in this district to express themselves," Reed said. "You know, we have to buy a set of clothes for school and then a set for everyday life. Most school districts aren't doing this."
A district spokesperson told WFAA that the dress code is still moving forward despite passionate pleas from parents to do away with it.
Yet, the board does have time before school starts to amend or repeal it.
WFAA was prevented from speaking with board members when this reporter attempted to approach them for comment.
Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry ignored WFAA's audible request for comment while leaving the boardroom for a recess.
"I think it needs to be changed. I think they need to repeal it," Traylor said.