MONTPELIER, Ida.—A mother has expressed concern over what she sees as the Bear Lake School District’s selective enforcement of its dress code.
Kim Joslin’s 13-year-old daughter, Taysha, has been called into the office twice since classes started this year. On both occasions, the eighth-grader was told that she was in violation of the school’s dress code.
The first time Taysha was asked to change her clothes, she had wore a thigh-length dress to school with a camisole underneath it.
Kim, who noted that her daughter dresses modestly, said there was no cleavage exposed.
“The teacher asked her if she liked showing her chest,” Kim said. “She wasn’t showing her chest. Taysha was embarrassed and upset.”
A similar incident occurred on Monday: Taysha, who wore a Western-style shirt to school, called Kim and said that she needed a change of clothes. Taysha’s shirt had a lace panel across the back of the shoulders; school officials said that her bra straps could be visible, which violated the school’s dress code.
“It was a very conservative shirt,” Kim said. “I told the school that her bra strap was not visible and (Principle Steve Heeders) said, ‘But it could have been.’”
Taysha had to wait in the office for 45 minutes until her mother arrived. Kim said that her daughter “was just mortified” by the incident.
Superintendent Gary Brogan said that all students in the district are aware of the dress code, and that Taysha violated it. Amongst items and styles forbidden by the dress code are hemlines higher than two inches above the knee, leggings or tight clothing, spaghetti straps, and clothing that exposes a student’s midriff, shoulders, or cleavage.
After the incident, another mother in the same school district sent a Kim of photo of her daughter’s outfit on the day Taysha had been sent home.
As Kim explained, the girl “was wearing a shirt that exposed her bra straps in the back and nothing was said about it.” Although her outfit was in violation of the dress code, the girl was neither reprimanded nor asked to change.
Of Kim’s eight children, Taysha is not the only one to have encountered trouble with the school district.
Kim’s youngest daughter, T’Kota Joslin, also attends middle school. The 11-year-old had curled her hair for school one day. When the girl seated behind T’Kota was caught playing with T’Kota’s curls, the teacher told T’Kota that she would have to tuck her hair inside her jacket while she was in class.
“I want to know why they didn’t tell the other girl to keep her hands to herself,” Kim said.
“I think we need to concentrate a little bit more on education and a little bit less on the dress code,” the mother added.
In other school districts in the area, dress code violations are reported to be fairly uncommon. Shelby Allen said that dress code violations in District 25 are handled in the school. In American Falls, Superintendent Ron Bolinger said that the school provides generic T-shirts to students who violate the dress code.