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School has barely started in some parts of the country, but the annual battle over dress codes has already surfaced at one Kentucky high school.
Stacie Dunn's daughter recently got sent to the principal’s office for failing to wear a shirt that covered her collarbone, a violation of the school dress code at Woodford County High School.
“So this is my daughter at school today. I had to come to the school because according to her school principal what she is wearing is out of dress code and inappropriate for school," she wrote on her Facebook page, posting a picture of her daughter at school wearing jeans, a tank top and a white cardigan. "When I got there I found a group of female students standing in the office due to being out of dress code also."
She criticized the school for enforcing a dress code that forbids girls from showing their collarbones "because it may distract their male class mates. This is ridiculous!" she continued in the photo's caption. "Parents are being called away from their important jobs and students are missing important class time because they are showing their collarbones! Something needs to change!”
Dunn said she went to the school with a scarf but that her daughter got sent home anyway after being accused of giving the principal “an attitude.” She posted another photo of her daughter, asking of the principal: "What did he want her to tie it like a noose around her neck!"
Scott Hawkins, Woodford County Schools superintendent, said the high school’s dress code has been in place for more than 10 years.
“Our school administration has been very open with students and parents alike, that if they feel like changes need to be made, they are open to suggestions," he told TODAY.com. "It just needs to be measurable so that it can be consistently enforced."
“The whole idea behind the dress code is to make sure you have a safe learning environment and that’s what we’re trying to create," he said.
According to the high school's dress code policy, shirts must have crew-neck collars that do not dip below the collarbone.
“There’s nothing magical about the collarbone itself other than that’s just a point of reference, kind of like your knee would be for the length of shorts, or the length of a skirt,” Hawkins said.
In Kentucky, student dress codes are a school-level decision, meaning that school districts don’t set the dress codes for individual campuses.
Dunn, who did not immediately respond to TODAY.com requests for comment, noted on her Facebook page that her daughter's principal had recently called her to set up a meeting. He said “he would be willing to amend the dress code if I was willing to put together a proposed dress code that was realistic, measurable and professional that everyone, including lawyers could agree too! Sounds like I have some work to do!"
Dunn also apologized to any school teachers or faculty members who felt unfairly criticized on social media because of the attention her daughter's ordeal has brought.
“It was never my intent to ‘bash’ anyone, merely to draw attention to what I feel was an injustice in our school system,” she said in a subsequent Facebook post. She insisted her issue was with “the ridiculous dress code, not in the conduct of the faculty.”
She said the principal also has met with a group of high school students about making “a reasonable dress code change proposal” to take before the school board.
Follow TODAY.com writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.