GSA Student Leader Reacts to Clovis Unified School Board Vote on Dress Code Changes

(Clovis, CA, April 7, 2016) The Clovis Unified School Board voted last night make its dress code for students more gender-neutral. The approved changes include removing a ban on earrings and dresses for male students that school officials could have used to unfairly target trans and gender nonconforming students. The ban is illegal under the California Education Code, which prohibits discrimination based on gender and gender expression.

Last night’s vote followed an outpouring of organizing effort lead by GSA students in Clovis Unified, the ACLU, and concerned parents. At a previous board meeting on February 24, GSA Network student leaders delivered 3,500 signatures on a petition against the outdated dress code. The ACLU also led advocacy efforts, highlighting the unlawful provisions of the dress code.

Statement from GSA Leader and Buchanan High School Student Rei Bioco:

“We’re definitely glad that the vote tonight was in our favor. While freedom of gender expression is a priority, it is not our only priority. The dress code policy for our school district should also be revisited to remove or revise rules and unclear language that may allow discrimination against students based on race, religion, and culture. It is not enough for us to celebrate a less gendered dress code while some of our peers are still being targeted based on their identities.”

Joint Statement from GSA Network Co-Executive Directors Ginna Brelsford and Geoffrey Winder:

“The changes that the school board voted to make tonight are a positive step toward a more inclusive dress code. However, the school’s policy still has a long way to go. Even with these changes, the new dress code still doesn’t address how to make Clovis Unified schools safe and supportive spaces for students who identify as trans or gender nonconforming. All of these students should have the assurance that school administrators won’t prevent them from being able to go to class and learn.”

For a recap of the board meeting, please visit the GSA Network blog.