Wednesday, Jan. 12, The Clovis Unified School District Board made official changes to the dress code during their first public meeting of 2022.
The dress code for CUSD has been a continuous concern for both parents and students throughout the years.
In a survey that presented to parents, students, and staff on Nov. 18th, a majority of participates voted the dress code needed to be changed.
The biggest issues in those surveys came in the form of leggings, shorts, and frayed/ripped clothing.
Another concern came in the form of code enforcement. Students saw inconsistent enforcement of the dress code.
Female students expressed concerns about the code not sending the message they want it to send. They feel they’re being sexualized and being singled out for what they wear.
Clovis North student Regan Larson told a story about how the dress code didn’t protect her from being sexualized.
“My freshman year, I was sexualized multiple times and then assaulted by a boy in my first period class,” Larson said. “I was completely compliant with the dress code. Students Services’s way of protecting me was giving the boy a one day suspension and telling him to stay away from me. Unfortunately, I had to stand next to him in class every day following the incident.”
Larson also stated that the dress code teaches her that the way she dresses makes her at fault for how boys might stare, comment, or touch her without her consent.
Superintendent Eimear O’Brien spoke to the board after public comments and stated how they would handle the issue of code enforcement.
In preparation for the meeting, a pamphlet was given to each board member titled “What to Expect with Dress Code Enforcement”. The pamphlet explained what to expect should a student be in violation of dress code without students feeling singled out or violated.
Once published the pamphlet will be accessible on all CUSD websites for anyone who wishes to read it.
O’Brien also stated that staff are being trained based upon what is stated within the pamphlet.
In regards to the dress code itself, a motion was made unanimously to approve the new draft that was previously presented to the public on their website.
Board Member Yolanda Moore expressed her appreciation to the community and hopes the new code will receive good feedback.
“I appreciate the young people advocating, I appreciate all of the input from the community, but also all the work that administration put in just getting us all the comments and the raw data and just seeing what the community wanted,” Moore said. “I hope this is something that people will be happy with because, just from what I’ve seen I think the changes we’re suggesting do a good job of, not only upholding the role of our dress code, but also allowing them to express themselves and keep up with the fashion trends.”
Board Member Susan K. Hatmaker also expressed thanks to everyone who participated in the meetings and pushed for change in the dress code “all during a pandemic.”