JEANS

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Lo­cal - [email protected]­sen­tinel .com

lated her school’s dress code and she will bear the con­se­quences of that,” she wrote. “But such a vi­o­la­tion never war­rants the ex­pe­ri­ence she had yes­ter­day.”

McKin­lay de­clined fur­ther com­ment this week and de­clined to let her daugh­ter be in­ter­viewed. Palm Beach County schools also de­clined com­ment.

Fifty-five per­cent of high schools en­forced a strict dress code in the 2015-16 school year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cen­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics, which an­a­lyzes ed­u­ca­tion data.

Par­ents and stu­dents across the coun­try have been ris­ing up to com­plain about these rules, which they say are too of­ten car­ried out against girls.

In Braden­ton last year, a stu­dent was rep­ri­manded for not wear­ing a bra. In Beau­fort, S.C., a girl was sus­pended for wear­ing a skirt that was too short. She posted on In­sta­gram: “I learned some­thing very im­por­tant about my­self: I am a whore.”

Palm Beach and Broward’s poli­cies say they are in­tended to max­i­mize learn­ing by min­i­miz­ing cloth­ing dis­trac­tions that could in­ter­fere with ed­u­ca­tion. The de­tails are typ­i­cally ex­plained to stu­dents early in the school year, al­though schools some­times have to im­pro­vise as the year pro­ceeds.

In 2015, stu­dents at McArthur High School in Hol­ly­wood re­ceived a let­ter in­form­ing them that grad­u­at­ing boys must wear dark pants and ties, and girls had to wear dresses or skirts — no slacks — to grad­u­a­tion. Some par­ents were fu­ri­ous, say­ing pants are ap­pro­pri­ate for girls on such oc­ca­sions.

Such girl tar­gets are typ­i­cal, some high school stu­dents said. Many have had ex­pe­ri­ences sim­i­lar to McKin­lay’s daugh­ter. They ac­knowl­edged that their fash­ion choices some­times break the rules, but said boys do the same and face no con­se­quences.

“It’s like boys can’t learn with­out us be­ing cov­ered,” said Ju­lia Blakes­berg, 15, a sopho­more at Olympic Heights High School in Boca Ra­ton. “A lot of guys wear short shorts or rips in their jeans and they don’t get dress-coded.”

Blakes­berg said she got a ver­bal warn­ing for wear­ing ripped jeans and was told to stop wear­ing pa­ja­mas to school be­cause they are “not lady-like.”

Sophia Cosie, 15, a sopho­more at Span­ish River High in Boca Ra­ton, said a teacher told her last year that her tank top re­sem­bled what a strip­tease dancer might wear. Cosie cov­ered up with a jacket.

“It hurt my self-es­teem more than any­thing,” she said. “I see boys walk­ing around with mus­cle shirts and they don’t get in trou­ble.”

A Span­ish River ad­min­is­tra­tor said girls’ cloth­ing does lead to more dress­code warn­ings be­cause their op­tions are more di­verse.

“We do have more is­sues be­cause of the short shorts, the spaghetti straps, the stom­achs show­ing,” said Ira Sol­lod, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal. “With guys, other than if their pants are too low or they’re wear­ing a tank top in­stead of sleeves, it hap­pens less of­ten.”

He said stu­dents get sev­eral warn­ings be­fore they face dis­ci­pline, which could in­clude a de­ten­tion or their par­ents be­ing called.

From a male stu­dent per­spec­tive, stu­dent Natan Solomon at West Boca Ra­ton High said he has never seen a boy cited for his gar­ments but no­tices girls get in trou­ble “a cou­ple times a day.”

“It is dis­tract­ing when girls show their cleav­age or their [butt] cheeks are out,” said Solomon, 16, a ju­nior. “There’s less op­por­tu­nity for boys to wear cloth­ing like that. I’m not go­ing to show my shoul­ders or midriff. But boys do get away with it most of the time.” Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKin­lay posted this photo of her daugh­ter in her jeans on Face­book.

MELISSA MCKIN­LAY VIA FACE­BOOK

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