GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A group of students at Scott County High School are speaking out about their dress code, calling it sexist and demanding it be changed.
"We're all smart enough to know what is right and what is wrong," said 11th grader Olivia Martin. She wore a cropped white shirt with "Education Not Sexualization" written on it, along with ripped jeans.
"I would get dress coded the second I stepped into school wearing these for this rip and this rip, and I would have to wrap duct tape around my legs," said Martin. "Because it does show a little bit of my stomach, it would be a problem, and they would stop me and take me out of class."
Walters is frustrated by those rules. Having had endured being "coded" herself, she feels the restrictions on what she can wear sexualize her.
DRESS CODE DEBATE: A group of students say Scott County High School's dress code is sexist and unfair. Girls feel the rules unfairly target them.— LEX 18 News (@LEX18News) September 9, 2021
Tonight at 6, @christianaford_ talks to the students about the steps they've taken to try and bring about change. pic.twitter.com/xkgDTH4HB4
"Our education is way more important than our bodies and the way they look in our clothing. We shouldn't be treated like an object; we're not there to impress the boys and distract them. We are not a distraction, and we are not a sexual object," said Martin.
Martin, along with Kaylee Walters and Ray Young, are advocating to change the rules at their school.
They collected pictures of violations, hung posters in the school hallway, and Walter started a petition.
"They say it's for like education, like to protect everyone else's education, and unbias. Yeah, how is my education being protected whenever I am getting taken out of class. I'm spending an entire day in ISS (in-school suspension) because I'm wearing something that someone else may or may not find distracting," said Walters.
The dress code is typical for K-12. The policy bans clothing like shorts, skirts, or dresses that are too short, holes that fall below fingertip length, crop tops, and thin straps. While standard, the girls feel like the rules unfairly target them as females.
"We can't remember the last time we saw a guy get dress coded," said Young. "Our dress code is sexist."
So far, their online petition has close to 500 signatures.
"If you think that pulling a girl out of class because her bra strap is showing or her shorts are a little too short, then you're just proving to her that making sure that the males in the classroom have a distraction-free zone is more important than her education," said Young.
The school's dress code starts with a note saying Scott County High School works hard to make sure that their dress code policy is free from gender bias and equal for all. When we asked the school about this, a spokesperson sent us this statement:
"The principal at Scott County High School is always available to discuss any issue important to her students, but no student has brought this topic or their concerns regarding dress code to the attention of the principal in this case."
The students tell us they had a chance to meet with their school's administration, and they listened. They canceled their planned walkout protest and will have a small meeting to talk about changes next week.