High school students protest what they call ‘sexist' dress code

by: Patranya Bhoolsuwan Updated:

South Sound high school students walked out of class this morning -- to protest what they call a "sexist" dress code.

It started with an email sent out to teachers at Puyallup High School - reminding them what kids "can" and "can't" wear with today's warmer weather.

Kaylie Haven, an 11th-grader, dressed in a tank top and shorts, says what she's wearing today could get her in trouble, but it wouldn't be the same for boys.

“You can see boys drop their pants so low, we can see their underwear but we can’t show our shoulder or belly button,” says Haven.

Other students say most kids know the difference between comfortable and inappropriate.

“If their boobs are not hanging out and if their private parts are not hanging I think it should be OK, says 10th-grader Tyanna Santana.

These students, whose parents gave us permission to talk to them, say word about the email spread quickly after it was sent out yesterday.

We got a copy of the email and it lists specifics on appropriate school-wear. Things that are deemed not appropriate include halter tops, low cut shirts and spaghetti straps.

We found the same list in the Puyallup High School Handbook.

Brian Fox, chief communications director with Puyallup School District, says the dress code is gender neutral.

“We want the classroom to be a place where there aren’t distractions,” says Fox. “And clothing or lack thereof can be a distraction.”

Students say they now plan to meet with the school board to talk more about why they should be judged more on who they are and not what they wear.

“If we are comfortable in our skin, it would make a better learning environment,” says Haven.

We also talked to the mother of Kaylie Haven. She says she agrees with her daughter that the dress code can be seen as sexist.

She went on to say that when it comes to what kids wear and whether it’s appropriate, parents should also have a say.

“My daughter like every teenage girl can push the envelope at times but we have a very open relationship where if I feel something is inappropriate I will tell her to go change.”

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