The following comes from an April 6 Fresno Bee article by Mackenzie Mays:
After months of debate, the Clovis Unified school board on Wednesday reluctantly approved a dress code that is gender-neutral.
The new policy removes decades-old restrictions that prevented boys in the district from wearing long hair and earrings, and instead applies a single standard for all students, regardless of gender.
Wednesday’s vote came after the board faced criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union in January for refusing to drop the gender-specific language, despite concerns that the policy violated state laws protecting gender expression.
Some students have protested the dress code: In February, boys wore dresses to class to defy gender norms they say are perpetuated by the policy.
But trustees say the strict dress code – which also bans beards, camouflage and professional sports logos – is related to the district’s high achievement.
Josh Fulfer, who grew up in the Clovis Unified system and has children in the district, agrees, saying the majority of students are being hurt out of concern for select students.
“You’ve got 5-6 percent that scream … but what about the majority? What are you going to do for them when they feel offended in class when they’re distracted because of what someone’s wearing? What about my kids?” he said.
Clovis Unified parent Erica Ireland, though, commended the board for making the changes and said the policy of the past was dangerous for students.
“Gender is one of those first social categories children become aware of. My son has Thomas the train on the brain – but when he’s not playing with that, he has an interest in My Little Ponies,” she said. “This gender stereotyping needs to stop.”