SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (News4Utah) – A student at South Jordan Middle School, who says she was shamed for her shirt last year, is now allowed to wear a shirt with shoulder openings after a clarification to the dress code language.
“At her school, last year, she got taken aside for wearing one of those shirts where it just shows the shoulder,” said mother Alisha Kunkel.
Her daughter Ambrea wore a shirt to school last year with shoulder openings.
“Hall monitor said, it wasn’t an appropriate shirt, and like, if I ever wore that again, I’d have to go to the office and change,” said Ambrea.
She posed for a photo shoot with that very same shirt on and she held a sign reading ‘Why can boys show their shoulders and I can’t?'”
So she and her mother were excited to hear of changes at her school this year. Last year, her school’s dress code reads: “Shirts need to cover chest, back and shoulders.”
This year, that same section reads: “Shirts need to cover chest and back.”
A spokesperson for the district calls this change a “clarification” in dress code at South Jordan Middle School that has nothing to do with Kunkel’s activism.
That spokesperson says many students were wearing the “cold shoulder” style anyway, so the school wanted to change the language to reflect what was already allowed.
Spaghetti straps and tank tops are still not allowed, according to the spokesperson.
Mother Alisha Kunkel says the change in language is still a positive move.
“Girls are being targeted. Girls are being shamed for their bodies. Girls are being talked to about this. And boys — I’m sure boys have been ‘dress-coded’ too, but it’s just not taken as seriously,” said Kunkel.
A parent from Magna Elementary says she noticed what she thought was a change in her child’s dress code at Magna Elementary, as well.
That school’s dress code reads, in part, “Students must at least cover the ‘swimsuit areas’ of their bodies.”
(Student handbook here: https://schools.graniteschools.org/magna/files/2018/08/Parent-Student-Handbook-18-19.pdf)
Ben Horsley with Granite School District sent News4Utah this statement:
“Granite District does not create or enforce dress codes for schools as these are school and community level decisions. Principals work with their local community council parents to modify policies as necessary. The District works to encourages parents to involve themselves with these decisions at the school level and make their voices heard while encouraging school administrators to ensure these policies are enforced consistently.”