‘Sounds like a cult’: Parents hit back after school experiments with banning skirts, dresses and any fashionable clothes for kids

District says updated uniform code will eliminate ‘socio-economic’ differences

<p>Parents confronted the Forney school board on Monday during a meeting </p>

Parents confronted the Forney school board on Monday during a meeting

An independent school district in a Dallas, Texas, suburb has been accused by parents and students of introducing a “cult” and of sidelining girls with an updated dress code.

The Forney Independent School District said last week it would ban students from wearing skirts, dresses and jean materials when school begins in September, irking both parents and students.

On Monday, parents – including the mayor of Forney, James Traylor – told school board members and attendees that an updated dress code excluding skirts and dresses unfairly impacted girls.

“I don’t think any man should be telling a woman what they should wear,” Mr Traylor said, according to WFAA. “I work with women daily, and they wear dresses, skirts, and they’re professional.”

Another parent asked the board: “Do I really need to request permission for my girl to be a girl?”

Online, many commented that Forney ISD had introduced a “Victorian” dress code for students, with one person writing on Facebook: “Sounds like a cult”. 

“It’s designed to prevent what they perceive as boys from wearing dresses and skirts,” wrote one critic on Twitter. “It’s transphobia and we all know it”.

A parent who attended the meeting responded by saying they mentioned the dress code in relation to transgender students and were thanked by others.

North Forney High School is among the schools covered by the new dress code

“A few parents thanked me for bringing it up the way I did and a current student thanked me because they are not in a safe place to be able to publicly speak up about it,” the parent added on Twitter.

According to Forney, the dress code – which also bans “hoodies” and other so-called fashionable clothes – would ensure “socio-economic differences among students” were lessened.

The ISD also claimed that student self-esteem would be improved and that the dress code would “promote positive behaviour, thereby enhancing school safety and improving the learning environment.”

“I think it’s putting a huge limit on kids and children in this district to express themselves,” said parent Christian Reed during the meeting, citing the increased cost of sourcing a new wardrobe for low-income families.

”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 petition organised by a student has since received more than 10,000 signatures, it was reported.

In a statement to WFAA, a spokesperson for Forney ISD said: “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 Independent has approached the school district for comment.

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