Amend the Dress Code / If Needed Relieve Meocha Williams of Her Duties
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Meocha Williams, the principal of Scott County High School in Georgetown, KY, along with her administration have edited the schools dress code to include sections such as (1) "Head decorations worn for religious purposes must have prior principal approval" and (2) "The student dress code can be amended without prior notice by the administration." Addressing #1, this dress code requires that all people whose religion instructs that they wear some sort of head garment, first approach the principal with the situation of them wearing said garment, and have her approve the garment. If the student chooses not to, or is unable to perform any of the actions espoused above, the will be forced to hand the garment to administration and wait for it to be returned at the end of the day. And for a second offense, it will be viewed as defiance and "be dealt with accordingly." This removal of religious garments strictly violates KRS 446.350, as it assesses penalties on the student population who choose to demonstrate these religious practices and there is no greater good of having the student remove the head garment. Said dress code also violates the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, which is outlined in said constitution and Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 339 U.S. 503. Also, this section allows the principal to be the one solely in charge of which head garments may or may not be allowed. If a student has a less than ideal relationship with her, or she does not approve of their religious beliefs, she may choose not to approve the head garment. Thus, forcing the student to remove said garment, violating their religious practices. Breaking said statutes and case laws espoused above. Addressing #2, the issue at hand is less of a legal one here, but more of a ethical one which opens door for legal issues. This section expresses how the dress code can be changed, without first informing students. Therefore, if a teacher or administrator has a problem with how one of their students is acting, but it is not against the rules, they can discipline the student for "being in violation of the dress code" because the dress code "just changed." The student would have no time to be aware of the change and go about modifying their outfit to fit the new standards - because the code change does not require any prior disclosure - yet they would still be in violation because the rules have changed. The doors that this opens up being legally focused is that if a teacher for reasons such as religion, personal beliefs, etc. does not agree with a students religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc. (or on the simple grounds of skin color), they could simply say that the dress code has changed and that the student is in violation of it, thus giving them a form of punishment, in a clearly discriminatory context. Which according to Title II, Title IV, Title VI, Title IX, and the Scott County Schools Annual Non-Discrimination Notice, is both illegal and against local policy.
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