In the small city of Clovis northeast of Fresno, high school students are protesting their district's decision not to update its controversial, decades-old dress code.
The code forbids boys from wearing earrings or keeping their hair below their earlobes. A proposed update would have set the same standards around hair and jewelry for both boys and girls, and would have removed language saying skirts and dresses are for girls. Last Wednesday, Clovis Unified trustees voted 4-3 against updating the policy.
Numerous students at Buchanan High responded to that decision by defying gender norms with their outfits, the Fresno Bee reports:
Buchanan High School senior Patrick Smart wore a dress for the first time last week. His classmate, Emma Sledd, wore a collared men’s shirt to school.
"The reason we switched gender norms for the day was to make the statement that what we wear does not define us as students," Sledd said. "Our district’s dress code should not favor or discriminate any gender. We believe everyone should be able to express themselves equally. A boy with long hair is no less of a hard worker than a girl with long hair."
Sledd, a senior, was joined by a few of her female classmates in wearing stereotypically boyish attire, and tweeted: "If we can dress like them, they can dress like us."