Some parents and students are speaking out over high school dress codes at Longview Public Schools. Some think the rules unfairly target females.

Some parents and students are concerned that the Longview School District dress code policy is unfair and unevenly enforced.

The biggest critique is aimed at R.A. Long High School, one of the two main high schools in the district.

Some parents and students said that when it comes to the dress code — things need to change.

“It is very, very outdated, it is very classist, sexist, and extremely racist,” said Donna Walker whose daughters graduated from R.A. Long.

Parents speaking out at a Longview school board meeting this week expressed frustration with a dress code they said doesn’t work for them or their kids.

“Just as an example the outfit that I’m wearing now will get my daughter pulled from class and shamed at school,” said Kathryn Gipson a parent.

Gipson has a daughter who attends R.A. Long High School. The mother said her slashed jeans would not be allowed.

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KGW spoke with a student on the matter. She said the rules require a lot more restrictions on girls than boys.

“It’s like my gay friend Sean, he wore shorts that were pretty short and he didn’t get dress coded but if I did I would have gotten dress coded, so it’s frustrating,” said Kaitlyn a sophomore.

The district has a general dress code policy. The policy states that a students dress attire cannot pose a health or safety hazard, damage school property or create a substantial disruption of the educational process.

It also allows individual school administrators get more specific about what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to things like the length of shorts and bra straps.

An R.A. Long student named Aiden told KGW his tank top wouldn’t be acceptable on a girl.

“I feel like it’s not fair at all I think it’s like very sexist. I feel like it should be changed I feel like it should all just be equal,” said Aiden.  

The school superintendent said that in his eight-year tenure he’s never heard dress code concerns raised at a school board meeting. But now that they have — they’re responding.

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Superintendent Dan Zorn wrote to KGW and said, “Our school dress codes are intended to apply to all students, regardless of gender. As part of our review process, we are looking at the dress codes in our high schools and how they are applied. It is important that we treat all students with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Gipson agrees, but said that’s not what’s happening now for her daughter. She said the dress code is teaching her the wrong things.

“The lesson she learned is that she does not have body autonomy and her voice doesn’t matter; she’s learning that girls need to cover up so boys have a distraction free environment, and that’s more important than her education,” said Gipson.

Gipson and others said they want one reformed dress code that is evenly enforced across the district.

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