Forum held for Knox County students upset with dress code policy

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A forum was held Thursday night at Hardin Valley Academy with students from Knox County schools upset over the dress code policy.

“It’s generally just a very extreme guideline in general, I feel like,” said Hollie Sikes, a 10th grader at Farragut High School.

Earlier this week, she started a petition in protest to what she calls the irrational dress code rules. She focused a lot on shorts that need to be finger-length long.

“It’s very hard to find. Forever 21 had only two pairs out of 280-something. Urban Outfitters had five out of 40, it’s just to show how little the number is,” said Sikes.

While the online petition has garnered more than 3,000 supporters, only 24 people, including a couple of parents, showed up to the forum in person.

Previous story: Knox County student petitions against ‘irrationally strict’ dress code rules

“A lot of people signed the petition, but a lot of different people didn’t come to this even though it was well publicized. Lots of people said they were coming and then only 10 showed up, which just proves people aren’t willing to take action,” said Hardin Valley senior Maggie Olson.

“No matter if 500 people show up or five people show up, it’s still the same reaction,” said Sikes.

Those who did show up suggested changes to the policy. Some of them were minimal, like replacing the finger-length rule, to a slightly shorter knuckles rule, while others were major changes that involved switching to uniforms.

Knox County Schools student representative Sydney Rowell, who facilitated the student forum, will now take what these kids had to say to the school board.

“So my next step is to relay the information the students gave me to the board to show them the students are not only willing to voice their concerns, but they also do have realistic goals to change the policy,” said Rowell.

The next Knox County School Board meeting is September 6, which is when Rowell will present the board with the notes from Thursday’s forum. Only one school board member showed up, but she left about halfway through it.

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