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Casper Students Rally Against New Dress Code

via Defiance Against Natrona County Dress Code Facebook page

The Natrona County School Board approved a new dress code policy in June.

Trustee Rita Walsh says the District wanted policies to be more consistent across its schools—and to encourage “professional dress.”

“Our goal is to make prepared graduates—to make—as you come to school—your focus is education and learning,” Walsh says.

Most students got the lowdown on the new policy this week, when the District released this video. It explains that under the dress code, students cannot wear tank tops or uncovered leggings and yoga pants—among other things.

Right away, students launched a Facebook group opposing the dress code—which now has nearly 2,400 members. Students are alsogathering signatures to petitionthe school board to repeal the dress code. 

“I’ve never had a problem with my shoulder being a distraction to other classmates,” says Natrona County High School junior Mariah Phillips.

Phillips says the new policy is too strict—and it unfairly singles out female students.

“If a teacher’s going to waste my time and stop me in the middle of the hallway and tell me that I can’t go to class because I’m showing too much of my thigh or my shoulder, than that’s time I could be in class learning and participating.”

The conversation in Casper mirrors those taking place in schools around the country, where gender-based dress codes have long been the norm.

“They should be teaching these guys to control themselves and not to see women as toys—versus telling women they need to change how they dress because they’re comfortable and not dying of a heat stroke,” says Megan Scharpe, a Kelly Walsh sophomore.

The two public high schools enjoy a fierce rivalry in Casper, and opponents of the new dress code are excited to see students from either school banding together against something they think is wrong.

“I am proud of all of us students for sticking up for what we believe in and actually taking a stand for something,” says Logan Hawkins, a Natrona County High School sophomore.

Some students plan to violate the new dress code on their first day of school in September. Others plan to make their case to the school board at its August 24 meeting.

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