Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando high schools' dress code enforcement varies widely

It's a classic high school situation. Teacher calls you out on a dress code violation. Big trouble.

For years, the code in Hernando County, too, has been classic. Leave those cut-up jean shorts and Budweiser T-shirts at home. Cover up those skimpy halter tops. Lose the miniskirt.

But even before the Hernando County School Board last week postponed plans to require an even dressier standard — collared shirts and slacks or skirts for all the elementary and middle schools, plus Springstead High in Spring Hill — it was clear that some high-schoolers were getting called out a lot more than others.

Last semester, 406 students at Springstead were cited for violating the code. Seven miles away at Nature Coast Technical High, officials found just one violation.

Hernando High cited three students, while Central High caught 63.

"Sounds to me like someone is over-addressing this issue, or the other schools aren't addressing it at all," observed School Board member Pat Fagan.

At some schools, it's all about jeans.

Kids at Nature Coast can get away with ripped jeans, said freshman Libbie Sowder. Not so across town at Springstead.

"Any rips in your jeans, you get a dress-code violation and you have to go straight to in-school suspension," said Springstead senior Amber Sieni.

"Even if it's at your ankle, a little rip in the jeans," junior Victor Latty added. "I think they're a little too strict."

Officials at Springstead referred all questions on the matter to superintendent Wayne Alexander. He said the school has been particularly diligent, and that's a good thing.

"I think the explanation for Springstead is they monitor it twice a day," Alexander said. "They attend to it in great detail. (But) it should be applied universally."

Nonetheless, he said, Springstead's plan to test-drive the dressy look on behalf of the county's high schools next fall will be postponed indefinitely.

Schools with existing uniform policies will keep them. But board members agreed an economic downturn is no time to be sending parents out to buy new clothes.

Still, several members voiced concern over enforcement of the existing code.

"In visiting some of the schools, I have a strong feeling that some schools are just not paying attention," said Sandra Nicholson.

Gender also seems to matter when it comes to dress code violations. Of the 63 students cited at Central High last semester, 55 were girls, according to district data. At Springstead, more than five girls were cited for every boy.

Hernando High saw an even split of 16 male violators and 16 female last year. But by the fall, the student body appeared to have cleaned up its act substantially, with just one girl and two boys in trouble.

A few Nature Coast students were puzzled to learn that just two girls dressed inappropriately last year, and one more this year. Teachers enforce the dress code with great vigor, they said.

Well, sort of.

"They do sometimes, but not all the time," admitted freshman Gabby Solorzano. "It depends what teacher."

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Dress code violations

High school

1st semester 2008-092007-08 school year
Central63204
Hernando332
Nature Coast12
Springstead406222
Source: Hernando County School Board

Dress code report

For an in-depth look at findings from a Hernando County School Board dress code committee, visit links.tampabay.com.

Hernando high schools' dress code enforcement varies widely 03/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 28, 2009 1:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman and Baker pull no punches in first forum

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Wildlife officers look for answers in gopher tortoise deaths while reward money piles up

    Wildlife

    The blood had already pooled when the bodies were found, bashed and beaten. One was dead. The other was still gasping, but it was too late.

    A gopher tortoise emerges from a bush to feed on vegetation on Thursday in 2016 at the Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deaths of two tortoises that were beaten and their shells broken in Manatee County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  3. Airbnb on track to shatter tax revenues brought in last year

    Business

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.

    Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.
[Bloomberg file photo]

  4. PSTA foresees no service cuts as it rolls out proposed 2018 budget

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will unveil the first draft of its 2018 budget at Wednesday morning's meeting of the governing board.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]