Girl Scouts challenge dress code in Alabama school system

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Girl Scouts who attend schools in the city of Auburn have created a petition asking the school board to update the school system’s current dress code, saying students should feel comfortable and should not not worry about “publicly shaming yourself”. .”

Marcie Gaylor, volunteer experience coordinator for Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, said about four girls from Troop 7018 and Troop 7012 got together in May to discuss the dress code and came up with the idea of modify it. The girls came up with the wording themselves with guidance from a few adults, Gaylor said.

“We always encourage girls to get involved, and especially to do so through the appropriate channels,” she said. “Part of our Girl Scout law says to respect yourself and others and to respect authority. They are also asked to be brave and strong and to make the world a better place.

The online petition received hundreds of signatures just days after it went live on August 19.

Daniel Chesser, public relations coordinator for Auburn City Schools, said the district has been made aware of the petition and has scheduled meetings to discuss it.

“Asking students to write a petition is something that I think is encouraged by the school system so that students have a voice,” Chesser said.

In the petition, the girls state that the dress code “prevents girls’ success” because it makes girls shy, stressed and anxious.

The Girl Scouts said the current dress code wastes teaching time and discriminates against low-income people. He also describes the girls’ difficulty in shopping and trying to find clothes that comply with the rules.

“Because all bodies are different, many girls cannot find dress code compliant clothing on the shelves of any Auburn store,” the petition reads. “The same shirt or pair of shorts will suit one girl’s dress code but not another.”

Gaylor said one of the rules the girls would like to change is the required length for shorts, skirts and dresses. The system currently requires that all hemlines be no lower than 4 inches above the knee. The Girl Scouts offered to replace it with a standardized inseam length, so that it would be easier to buy.

Several parents and even former students expressed their approval for the petition on Facebook.

“Well done girls!!! I’m 100% behind this,” one parent wrote. “My 5’8″ daughter has always had to wear jeans in 100 degree heat.”

“Can non-parents sign? I am a former ACS student and ALWAYS had issues with the overall restrictive and sexist dress code,” another person wrote. “Glad to see people pushing for a more realistic and modern approach and especially from the student body itself!”

As the parent of a first-grader and a fourth-grader, Gaylor said she was totally okay with updating the dress code.

Some parents on Facebook have commented that the dress code is also a struggle for boys, which Gaylor said the girls who wrote the petition are considering.

“Their thinking here is that it’s something that affects a lot of girls,” Gaylor said. “In fact, they have since learned that boys are also affected by the dress code and that boys also struggle to find appropriate clothes to wear for the school system.”

The Girl Scouts reviewed the dress codes of Opelika and Tuscaloosa and developed their own proposed dress code to present to the system.

Jeremy S. McLain