- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2022

Hoodies, skirts and dresses will no longer be acceptable attire for the majority of students at a North Texas school district when the new academic year begins in August.

The Forney Independent School District, which is a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, announced that any kind of clothing with a hood — whether it be a sweatshirt, jacket or coat — won’t be allowed inside school buildings. The school district did specify that pre-K through fourth-grade students will still be allowed to wear dresses, skirts and skorts until they age out of that privilege.

The move is done to bring a more professional atmosphere to the classroom and set children up to be good professionals as they mature, according to school officials.

This theme was hit on throughout Forney ISD’s announcement video. A young student in the video explains how multiple jobs require a dress code — such as wearing scrubs, a welding helmet or an apron — and then says, “The way I dress plays an important role in professionalism and safety, both in the classroom and on the job site.”

Forney ISD’s Superintendent Justin Terry then talked about how it’s important to establish “some of the foundational, baseline employability skills.” That included showing up to work on time, communicating with colleagues and fulfilling the expectations your employer has for you.

Notably absent in his portion of the video was any mention of proper work attire and how that contributes to a professional atmosphere.

In the summary of its updated dress code policy, the school district says that “The use of a school dress code is established to improve student self-esteem, bridge socio-economic differences among students, and promote positive behavior, thereby enhancing school safety and improving the learning environment.”

The reception to the new dress code has been overwhelmingly negative. An online petition opposing the new rules garnered nearly 3,800 signatures. “The majority of students that attended Forney school districts and their parents are outraged by this,” said the petition.

“They think it’s an outrage,” incoming freshman Emma Devore told KXAS-TV, the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate. She said her friends also are outraged.

“They hate it. They go on and on about how we should be able to express ourselves with what we wear … the hoodies are a big deal,” she said.

Wendy Devore, Emma’s mother, chimed in: “I think taking the hoodies away is a little too much. [But] I do like that they do have a dress code.”

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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