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Naples girl petitions Collier County Public Schools to loosen dress code

Posted at 12:49 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 00:51:09-05

A Naples girl started a petition asking Collier County Public Schools to loosen their dress code policy because she believes the current one is irrational, demeaning, and sexist.

Jenny Rivera is a Junior at Barron Collier High School. She said she noticed at the start of this school year that school officials were interpreting the dress code policy more strictly.

She said one night she was picking out clothes for school the next day and was having trouble finding something that didn't violate the dress code.

"They don't let us wear ripped jeans, shorts," Rivera said. "I was like oh my gosh, this is ridiculous, so I stayed up until 2 AM and wrote a petition."

She said the only thing she can wear to school is leggings.

Her petition says she wants to get rid of the fingertip rule that only allows pants and skirts to be below your fingertips when your arms are at your sides. She wants the district to allow ripped jeans as long as the rips are below fingertips, and thinks students should be able to wear shorts as long as their rears are completely covered.

"At first, it was just my close friends {who signed the petition}. Then they sent it out. I first got 60 {signatures} and I thought that was huge. Then I kept refreshing and it went up to 100, 200, 300, 400, and just kept going up," Rivera said.

As of Wednesday, the petition had more than 1,800 signatures.

Rivera said she understands the need for a dress code, but said the current one is irrational.

"It isn't rational to say you can't be in class because there's a rip in the knee. Even if the rip is covered with fabric so you can't see any skin," Rivera said. "I don't think it's really a distraction because it's just in the knees."

Rivera said the dress code objectifies women. In her petition, she wrote: "My dog loves food, however, at the dinner table, he does not jump up and eat the food. Why? Because I said no. Perhaps we should teach boys this principle..."

"You'd be hard-pressed to find someone that said you learn better with jeans that don't have a rip in them," Rivera said.

Collier County Public Schools said the dress code has been in place for years, and it's up to the School Board to make any changes. 

Four in Your Corner reached out to all members of the board. Kelly Lichter said she's a strong supporter of uniforms.

Jenny said she's considering going before the board.