Controversial Ridgewood High School dress code did not have parent support
As leaders of Pasco County's Ridgewood High School pressed to impose a strict new dress code, many parents complained they had little input into the idea: The administration surfaced the proposal after classes let out.
Principal Angie Murphy told district officials that she did conduct a summertime survey to gauge support of the plan. It wasn't until this week, after protests against the rule ensued, that the results became public, after superintendent Kurt Browning requested them.
And they did not support the dress code changes.
Sixty percent of 2,157 respondents said they did not believe a modified dress code would increase school pride, with 60.5 percent saying they did not think it would improve the learning environment and 59.1 percent responding that it would not promote positive behavior.
The school's rationale for tightening its clothing expectations was that students needed to have a "dress for success" mentality, and the dress code would help create a sense of belonging and increased pride. The effort would help improve academic performance and reduce disciplinary problems, the administration told the School Board.
The Pasco school district had no set policy for schools to alter their dress code rules, so the School Board took up each request individually. Superintendent Kurt Browning did nix a uniform proposal at Seven Springs Middle, though, after too few people participated in a vote.
Parents opposed to Ridgewood's policy, which went into full effect in mid October after a phase-in period, have said they plan to complain to the School Board on Tuesday. They have demanded these survey results, suggesting they would bolster their position.
Murphy said in an email to the district administration that the survey was "open," meaning anyone could participate -- even if they did not have any involvement with Ridgewood.