Parents Respond to Granby High School Dress Code Requirements

How short is too short?

That question was on the minds of parents who met with the principal of Granby Memorial High School on Monday night. They said some faculty members are taking enforcement of the school's new dress code too far.

"I had an issue with the attitudes and the way they were treating the kids. I think it was inappropriate," said Liz Bennett, the mother of a sophomore student.

Bennett was one of nearly 100 parents who attended the first Principal's Advisory Committee meeting of the school year. There were a number of items on the agenda, but parents say the new dress code was the hot topic.

"They felt like some of the kids were being picked on," said Sarah Wheeler, who has two daughters at the school.

The news media was not allowed inside the meeting, but those who were said many complained about the lack of communication between the school and parents.

"My parents ultimately have a say in what I’m wearing to school so the fact that they were calling me out on what I was wearing. I would go home and say I got in trouble for this outfit today and they would say why what’s wrong with it?" said Arielle Bocanegra, a senior at Granby Memorial.

The school handbook states that students shall be, "attired in clothing that is appropriate to the school setting."

Students dressed inappropriately will be sent home according to the handbook. Among the items deemed inappropriate are sleepwear, strapless tops, short shorts or skirts, and bare midriffs.

The students said the biggest issue isn't what they're wearing, it's how their teachers are treating them.

Bocanegra and fellow high school senior Erin Stoetzner started a petition to get the policy relaxed. They said they had a productive meeting with principal Mike Dunn on Monday and attended Monday night's meeting as well.

"The faculty in there was saying it was much more about a learning environment, but the students here definitely got the feeling that it had a lot to do with sexist actions towards girl," said Stoetzner.

The pair complained that their female classmates have been embarrassed in front of their peers, picked on by their teachers, and singled out in the school.

"They would stop girls before going into the lunch room and call them down to the office," said Bocanegra.  "Friday was kind of the breaking point for everybody. Everybody was afraid. I didn’t even go to lunch that day because I didn’t want to get in trouble for my spaghetti strap."

With temperatures reaching over 90-degrees on Friday, Stoetnzer said many of her female classmates came to school in short shorts, shorter than the, "no more than six-inch above the knee policy," they said was set by the school. She herself wore jeans because she didn't want to fight with faculty.

"I have so many nice clothing that can still look classy but can be a little bit above the six inch mark but I think we really need to meet in the middle on that," she said.

Still, some said they don’t believe a policy change is needed.

"This is an educational institution. You know it’s not your living room and it’s not your bedroom," said Wheeler.  "We do show the way we feel about where we are by how we dress. So, I think it’s totally appropriate to ask kids to dress respectably."

"I do have concerns about the dress code and that the focus is on education," added Ken Mounting, who's daughter is a ninth-grader at the school.

Students and parents who attended Monday night's meeting say the administration backed off the policy. A statement from the school’s principal doesn’t say what changes will be made, only that the administration is taking the concerns seriously and will make the appropriate adjustments.

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