A Florida high school senior is calling for changes to her school’s dress code policy after she was given a verbal warning for wearing a zip-up jacket over a sleeveless shirt to school.
Tessa Wisloh, 17, said she was held after class by a teacher, who asked her to remove her zip-up jacket to see if she was violating Springstead High School’s dress code.
“They go, um, you need to remove your jacket,” Wisloh told ABC Action News (video below). “And I'm like, excuse me, this is my outfit. I'm not going to take off my jacket. She says, ‘We have to check and see if your shirt has sleeves underneath your jacket.’”
Wisloh added that at first, she thought the strap on her book-bag had brought her jacket down, but that was not the case.
"No skin was showing," she said. "It was just like this. Nothing had moved.”
According to the Hernando County Dress Code Policy, spaghetti straps, tank tops, muscle shirts and shirts with cut off sleeves are prohibited. The policy does not specify whether students can wear such items if they wear a cardigan or jacket over it, ABC Action News reported.
Hernando County School District spokeswoman Karen Jordan told the news station that students are not allowed to wear something over any clothing that violates the dress code. Jordan added that the policy is shared with students and parents and is available online.
However, Cathy Dofka, the director of exceptional student education for Hernando County Schools, said that students can wear jackets and cardigans over sleeveless shirts so long as they don’t show any skin.
Dofka did admit that issues may arise if a student were to remove the outerwear at any point during the school day. She said a student’s best bet is to just not wear a sleeveless shirt so they don’t put themselves at risk of violating dress code.
Wisloh said she had no intention of removing her black zip-up jacket that day and feels she should not have been reprimanded. Her father, Frank Wisloh, agreed.
“It’s a little upsetting as a parent to think that my daughter is now getting harassed at school and asked to remove an article of clothing for something that just seems preposterous,” Frank said. “We live in Florida. It's 90 some odd degrees and it’s hot.”
Hernando County School officials say they are currently investigating the matter.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube