Following months of organizing, including students protesting by wearing dresses to school and a student-led petition signed by more than 3,500 people, Clovis Unified students will start to see some progress on a long-outdated dress code. The school board voted tonight to take out gendered parts of the student dress code that banned male students from wearing earrings and dresses. The ban catalyzed an organizing effort on behalf of GSA student leaders, parents and ACLU advocates because of its potential to put trans and gender nonconforming students at risk of targeting and discriminatory punishment by school administrators.
Photo caption: Students and parents who attended the Clovis Unified School Board meeting in support of a new, more gender-neutral dress code. (Photo from Abre' Conner)
Photo caption: The parent of a Clovis Unified student speaking during public comment.
Tonight’s meeting was a followup to a vote in January in which the school board voted not to update the dress code. ACLU lawyer Abre’ Conner speaking at a previous meeting explained that the dress code broke with the California Education code, which ensures protection for students’ gender expression. She also noted that the code violates students’ rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.