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SUESD Dress code is sexist- please vote to change!

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The SUESD Dress Code unfairly:

  • Discriminates against body types/proportions ("fingertip length" varies by body type and ethnicity)
  • Is discriminatory due to its inconsistent enforcement
  • Prevents parents from shopping at affordable retailers (Target, Kohl's, etc.)
  • Fails to be a reflection of local community values
  • Enforces value judgments (often by exlusively male staff) about propriety and modesty only for females
  • Takes time away from learning & class engagement for student, teacher, & staff
  • Contributes to outdated, misogynistic values, which contributes to Rape Culture and unfairly characterizes both males & females into defined gender-conforming roles
  • Discriminates against socio-economically disadvantaged families (who may not be able to afford "suitably modest" clothing), and does not take into account growth spurts
  • Reinforces that a female's value is based on appearance, which can have a devastating impact on young, impressionable students
  • Revokes the parents'/guardians' right to determine what their child can/cannot wear based on familial beliefs

We ask that the SUESD revisit Board Policy 5132(a), as well as the myriad school site policies, and review in light of more recent standards, such as those studied in Oregon.



If you have a daughter in the Soquel Union Elementary School District, it is likely you both have run afoul of the dress code, in one way or another.
One of the many problems with the dress code in our district is that each school site has its own dress code & enforcement policy, which is inherently unfair. In addition to the fact that there are essentially 4 unique dress codes in place, enforced in 4 separate ways, dress code violations are often aimed at girls specifically. Dress code violations for short/skirt length, tank top strap, and the like are inherently aimed specifically at girls, as boys (shopping at regular stores such as Target, Kohl's, etc.) do not generally have the option of shorts that come above knee length, or tank tops with less than 1" straps.

When a girl is cited as being in violation of the dress code, she is removed from class/activity, taken to the office to change OR sent home, removing her from the academic environment and sends the message that her attendance, participation in her class, and her education is less important than what she has on her body.
The fact that males are rarely cited as being in violation of the dress code (except for cases involving dress code violation for items endorsing illegal/immoral acts) compounds this problem. It sends the message that the female student is "less than" or "less important than" her male peers, that her body is not wholly hers, and that her shoulder equates to illicit activities.

Besides unfair and unequal enforcement violating if not the letter, certainly the spirit of Title IX funding, which expressly prohibits students from discrimination "on the basis of sex, [no person shall be] excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity," in a district where 100% attendance is the goal- these distinct policies completely counter what is ostensibly a measure to ensure education for all children.

But I have a boy. How does this impact me?
Because of the selective, gender-based enforcement of these dress code policies, we are sending a clear message to our boys- and it is outdated & misogynist. We are pushing our boys into a hyper-masculine, outdated mode of behavior, and teaching them to dehumanize girls/women. It devalues your son to devalue our daughters based solely on their gender/sex. We should embrace a 21st century way of thought, as our district has asked us to embrace new curriculum and technology.

From the New Brighton Middle School Student Planner:
DRESS CODE [excerpted]
"The most important considerations when selecting school clothing are modesty, safety, decency, and appearance that is conducive to maintaining a safe learning environment. To help maintain a safe and respectful learning environment we ask that the students refrain from: Short shorts or skirts shorter than the fingertip, when arms are hanging comfortably by the side; tank tops with straps less than 1" wide, halter-tops, or tube tops; bare midriffs, including when sitting, standing and walking; Low cut or revealing tops... showing of any undergarments."

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