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No PALs Allowed: A Mom’s Struggle With Flagler Schools’ Latest Dress-Code Absurdities

| August 30, 2013

The disallowed PAL jerseys. (Michelle Taylor)

The disallowed PAL jerseys. (Michelle Taylor)

By Michelle Taylor

At about 9:05 this morning, I got a phone call from Bunnell Elementary School informing me that my two sons—they’re in first and second grade—were pulled from their classrooms for violating the schools dress code. They were wearing their PAL football team jerseys. I was told my sons would not be allowed back in class until I delivered a dress-code approved collared shirt.

There are several issues with this.

Click On:

My children were singled out, discriminated against due to their attire, removed from their classrooms and denied their right to receive educational instruction.  The fact that my children were denied classroom time due to their clothing, on a test day no less, is outrageous and is the antithesis of what educators and administrators should be promoting and trying to achieve: education and equal treatment.

I am a stay-at-home Mom with 4-month-old twins, who happened to be napping at the time. I live 15 minutes from the school. I was willing to bring the shirts. But it was not possible for me to accommodate the school’s request right then. I informed an assistant principal that I would not be able to bring over the shirts for an hour and a half to two hours. But I did not want my children to be left in the office and miss classroom instruction meanwhile. But according to the assistant principal, that is exactly what would have happened.  What if I did not have a vehicle?  What if I was short of gas money or had other hardships, as I’m sure some parents face these days?

I suggested that if the jerseys were that serious a violation, the school could lend a shirt from the nurse’s office for the remainder of the school day. I was told that there were no shirts to be loaned out, even though shirts are always on hand for a variety of situations, from inadvertent rips, tears, spills, accidents, and yes, even inappropriate clothing. In fact, another parent with a child on my son’s PAL team was offered a shirt from the nurse’s office, 30 minutes after I was deceived and made to believe shirts were not available.

Then there’s the matter of the school district’s own inconsistency on the matter.

Children were allowed to proudly wear their PAL football team jerseys on “Spirit Fridays” last year, with no incidents or alienation. This year’s dress-code policy, revised only a few weeks ago, is somewhat ambiguous and unjustified in my opinion. The administrators’ actions today promoted discrimination against the PAL organization, its players and apparel.  There was no harm in the jerseys last year. What is the harm this year?

The Police Athletic League is a local organization. It promotes community involvement through athletics, volunteer work and commitment to a positive group activity. Academic success and proper discipline is mandatory to earn and maintain participation in the program. Is it silly to assume that the Flagler County School Board would want to promote a program like PAL—a program that uses its facilities and volunteers, that encourages our students to take pride in their community and their school, that promotes success, structure, education, self-esteem and responsibility?

Instead, it’s an order to go “to the office.”

These boys had been practicing four days a week, two and a half hours per day for several weeks before school resumed. That sort of commitment involves learning to balance school work and long hours of practice and game participation. These boys have earned the right to proudly wear their jerseys and should hold their heads high, just as the school should be recognizing and commending their dedication—by letting them wear it on their sleeves, rather than punishing them.

The PAL Team Mom spoke with a district administrator in pupil services last week and got verbal authorization that the boys were allowed to wear their jerseys to school on “spirit Friday.” Authorization was not submitted in writing. The same administrator is now passing the buck by claiming that a secretary provided incorrect information while the administrator herself had not been directly contacted about the matter.

Persecuting these young children because they are wearing their teams’ jerseys (which happened to be green and black, Bunnell Elementary’s dress-code colors), is damaging to their self-esteem and emotional well-being. They’re essentially being bullied by administrators and staff over their parents’ wardrobe decisions.

The school’s subsequent handling of the matter is also unacceptable. These children were ushered to the front office as if they had committed a crime, and made to feel that they had done something terribly wrong. Their parents were contacted by phone, in front of them. They were forced to listen to the verbal barrage of policy violations and expectations, as well as an argument that ensued between me and a school staffer.

Our children should not be privy to disagreements between parents and school staff, or any other adults for that matter. They are innocent beings in this debacle of fashion tyranny, and end up being treated like collateral damage as school administrators flex their muscle to assert control, establish uniformity or make a point—if not an example.

“Do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind.  Teachers, staff and administrators are enforcing a dress code that they themselves do not abide by. “Lead by example” comes to mind, too. Did Joan and Melissa Rivers move to our district to correct fashion faux pas or are our leaders being a little ridiculous as they cram their definition of “spirit” down our children’s throats?

The policy is silly enough and we could disagree over it until the end of times. But that valuable educational time is being stolen from these children, after a first infraction no less, by isolating them in a front office until a parent arrives is reprehensible. Children go to school to learn. They should never be denied their education for such ridiculous circumstances. My two sons did learn something today: they may not be able to use the words to say it, but they saw how petty, how mean, how irrational and disproportionately silly a rule can be.

A petition will be created and passed around at football practices for parents to sign requesting that these athletes be allowed to wear their team jerseys on “Spirit Friday.” Together, our collective voices will be heard loud and clear by our elected school board members and hopefully, a change will be made regarding this area of the dress code policy. Please contact your school board members to help affect change and remind them that above everything else, every child deserves an education, regardless of their attire.

Some school board members have been contacted today about this issue, as well as the bigger issue at hand. Two agreed to “try” to place this concern on the agenda for an upcoming meetings. I plan to be there, and I hope that other parents will join me. A child does not need to be singled out and ostracized to a “reflection room” (a detention, of sorts) because of a minor infraction of an ambiguous dress code policy. And a child should never be removed from the classroom for that reason. If the violation is severe enough to warrant a phone call to the parents to elicit corrective actions, then so be it. But let’s keep matters in perspective–and our children in class.

After an hour of frustrating arguments between me and the assistant principal, she sent my children back to class—with their jerseys turned inside out. That created another issue of embarrassment for them, causing more of a classroom distraction than wearing the shirts the right way. Another example of a school rule taking precedent over logic. My children are now angry with me because I picked out their outfits and they were embarrassed at school and in front of their friends.  Should tears really have been shed by these children because of a PAL team jersey?

Mission accomplished and point made, BES.

Michelle Taylor is a stay-at-home Mom. Reach her by email here.

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99 Responses for “No PALs Allowed: A Mom’s Struggle With Flagler Schools’ Latest Dress-Code Absurdities”

  1. Someone says:

    I go to the high school and was wearing a different blue than “royal blue” and got in trouble. They told me to go home and get another shirt. I live 30 minutes away from the school and only there for 4 hours of the day. Im not wasting my gas when I asked the day before if I could wear a regular blue shirt and they said yes.

  2. Sgt Saber says:

    Political correctness has DESTROYED America. Is Flagler County becoming another “Bloomberg” city ? If so, its time to leave this community and spend what little monies we have left in a community that care about the children’s education and NOT their attire !!!

  3. Lisa says:

    The dress code is clearly written and defined of what is acceptable for school attire. Follow the rules like everyone else, and your children can attend class.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Did you read the article? The PAL parents had explicitly been told by a school administrator that wearing the jerseys was acceptable as part of spirit Fridays. She had explicitly been told that the jerseys were within the rules, but then when she actually put them on her kids the rule was interpreted differently by someone else!

      This is why the uniform policy has to go – it’s arbitary, too open to interpretation. You can put clothes on your child in good faith and still get them into trouble because one administrator interprets the policy differently than another.

    • BIG JOHN says:

      Lisa, You are clearly missing the point. The school is a place for children to learn and not to be traumatized by ridiculous rules enforced by even more ridiculous teachers. Shame on you and shame on the staff at Bunnell Elementary School.

    • brian says:

      very true but these people think the rules dont apply to them..

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with you. Why should PAL football get special treatment. Does that mean that kids should be able to wear Little League, Boy Scout or Girl Scout, or any other uniform to school? The answer is no. Spirt day is just that school spirt day. Wear school colors or a school sport uniform not an outside sports team. This was the whole point of going to uniforms, to prevent problems with the clothing kids wear to school. Follow the rules and get over it.

      • Palm Coast Mom says:

        Rules are rules, but what does what a child wears to school have to do with what he learns, same old argument, Sad think is these boys were humiliated, and denied class time. Why did they not just get a verbal warning? Lets prioritize which is worse wearing a jersey or being denied an education??

  4. Carisa says:

    BTES called parents and emailed this week and their exact words (i read the email again) were “Your child could wear a local team jersey or tshirt on friday for spirit week….. last I knew PAL FLAGLER FALCONS were a local team????!!!!! if one school allows it then all schools in the district should allow it.

    • Jackie Clark says:

      We attended a meeting at ITMS where we were told that local organization shirts were allowed on spirit day. But today at RES my son was told that he wasn’t supposed to wear his PAL shirt. Thankfully he didn’t make an issue out of it. Just told him the rule for next spirit day.

  5. Nancy N. says:

    This is COMPLETELY unacceptable and is a great example of why I fought tooth and nail against the uniform policy when it was enacted.

    These children were humiliated, punished and denied class time because of a misunderstanding by their parent that they had nothing to do with about what constituted a proper shirt to wear. They followed their mother’s instructions about what to wear to school and then THEY were punished because SHE made an honest mistake.

    Children should NEVER be denied learning time because they are wearing the wrong freaking shirt! Where are your priorities? The entire justification for the uniform policy was supposed to be that it would enhance childrens’ educations. Incidents like this show it does just the opposite.

    I’m also wondering how much of their day school administrators spent dealing with this issue. Seriously, didn’t they have 100 better things to do than yell at a parent for putting their kid in a very respectable but “wrong” shirt? (Especially since apparently there were multiple families involved.) How much time are our school staff wasting every day dealing with missing collars and belts and wrong color shirts?

    This mom says this incident humiliated her kids and left them in tears because they were embarrassed in front of their friends…what happened to the promise of uniforms raising kids’ self-esteem and creating social equality?

  6. Mom says:

    Our School Board needs to clean up their staff and focus on education. If uniforms are for the hood, why doesn’t their staff wear uniforms? Maybe if staff wore them so many wouldn’t be arrested because they would have better self esteem and they wouldn’t have to prey on our children.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Stop treating our children like inmates!

  8. tulip says:

    I fully understand and sympathize with your frustration. However, the rules are the rules and if the school let some kids wear a particular sport or organization shirt then that would set a precedent to allow everyone else to do the same thing and there goes the dress code.

    I do feel that the teacher should’ve let them stay in class for the test on the belief that you would be there with the proper shirts in a couple of hours. It’s too bad you didn’t have a friend or neighbor who would’ve brought them, knowing how hard it is to do things on the spur of the moment when there is a baby in the house.

  9. Flaglerdude says:

    Well, This is a tricky situation. I understand the loss of instructional time, but one of the many strong qualities of a good educational system is discipline. We should be teaching our kids that RULES ARE RULES. Let’s see here… lets say your kid gets a high school job at McDonald’s or some other place. Can you wear a PAL jersey to work at McDonald’s??? NO. You wear the uniform McDonald’s tells you to wear. What happens if you don’t? YOU’RE FIRED. Rules are rules. Even though the rules might be bogus, it is an important lesson for your children to learn how to abide by the rules.

    • George says:

      Rules are rules your absolutely right, the rules say that your government is not liable for it’s decisions. How’s that for a rule. The rules state that your land can be seized by the government if it needs it and it does not have to be replaced, you like that one. My Daughters are two brilliant and creative out going children, so I will Not Be Letting Them Be Hobbled by this Counties Ridiculous Desire To Put Them in a Uniform. It doesn’t do any good for them to be forced to wear the same thing as everyone else. Children are not all the same and i will not subject them to that norm. The fact that so few parents support their children’s right for individuality is sad, considering the desire we’d have had for our parents to fight for us. Everyone’s rollover and die system of dealing with this Sickens me!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for any parents who have to send there children to public school around here. They can say all the good things they want, and I know there are many dedicated teachers out there, but this school system is horrible! I certainly don’t mean to offend those who work so hard with what they have to nurture and educate our children and grandchildren, but mine would not be included in this mess. I just read that the Principal of Matanzas High School thinks students should get half credit for missing homework….really????? Liberal education at it’s finest!!!!!! What happened to those two young boys was absolutely crazy. I shudder to think that these people have your children more of their waken ours during the week than you do!

  11. Nancy N. says:

    All of you saying the rules are the rules don’t get it. See, the rules are the rules except that they are constantly shifting ground. One day it’s one way (any shade of blue is fine) and the next it’s different (no, it has to be a specific shade of blue). The PAL parents are told by one administrator that the PAL jerseys are fine for spirit day (and they were fine all last year too) and then suddenly some other administrator sees the kids wearing them and arbitrarily says ‘no”.

    It is not fair to parents to play this yes-no-yes-no game with the rules. How are we supposed to know what is ok to dress our kids in when one person says something is ok and another says it isn’t? And it’s not fair to the kids to leave them stuck in the middle of the confusion, taking the heat when today’s administrator decides to interpret things different than yesterday’s.

    What happened to the promise of the uniforms being sold as simpler? We’re all running around trying to parse details of rules, and guess what exactly they mean, and hope that the administrator thinks the same thing we do. IT’S A CIRCUS. IT HAS TO STOP.

    • Jackie Clark says:

      In one school, red passes for maroon but very dark navy does not pass for black. Some people can’t even see the difference between the two colors (navy and black) but I’ve never heard anyone ask ‘is that red or maroon?’

  12. Devrie says:

    I don’t know that there is any common sense with the way Flagler County handles discipline. First of all, discipline is not consistent from teach to teacher, nor year to year. Secondly, why is the policy to hold a student out of class until a parent comes and fixes the issue? Is the school assuming that every child has two parents at home, with mom waiting by the phone with an extra set of clothes waiting for the child? What if mom is working in Jacksonville? What if mom/dad is low-income and doesn’t have anything clean? What if they don’t have transportation?

    I totally understand that it’s the parents’ responsibility to ensure their children are adhering to the dress code, but many parents are still navigating the exceptions. There has to be some consideration for a first offense that was clearly a misunderstanding of the policy to ensure students, especially elementary school students whose parents directed them to wear the clothes they wear, are not missing class time.

  13. carl Taylor says:

    Rules are rules that is true. did you miss the fact that approval was given to team official stating jerseys could be worn ? The same rule as last year. the implementation of the rule is not the problem the loss of instruction is .

  14. Kendall says:

    Your response to being called out for breaking the rules is a bigger problem than the rules being enforced. This is only an issue to your kids because you are making it one.

    The dress code was clearly communicated. You failed to check on whether spirit day still exists. This is your fault, not the school’s fault.

    • George says:

      Actually this is our fault as parents for letting a bunch of idiots run our school system. The dress code serves zero purpose. Let your children wear what they want.

    • Jackie Clark says:

      They didn’t change whether there is a spirit day. They changed what you are allowed to wear on spirit day. RES allowed local organization (FYO/PAL/Little League) shirts last year but not this year. No Professional team shirts but local was allowed.

  15. O.M.G. says:

    Rules are Rules… And I agree with the rules… You are the person that did wrong and your son’s paid the price.

  16. Moe Syzlak says:

    You said the policy had just been revised so why didnt you listen to the revised policy? Its your fault your children missed class today. As dumb as I think the dress code policy is, its the rules. Teach your children to follow the rules now so they’ll continue to do it later in life.

  17. Seminole Pride says:

    Many of us are not into sports, and could care less about Spirit Fridays. Just follow the rules, so that all can be restored in our schools. If you don’t like become a home school Mom, then your kids can wear whatever they please.

  18. George says:

    Let’s be completely honest. you all promote uniforms. you want your children to all look the same, because that helps limit bullying. If you believe that your as Naive as your raising your child to be. Anyone care what their children want? of course not your thankful not to have them home bothering you all day, or worse yet home alone doing god knows what. I am extremly disappointed in this school board forcing children into uniforms, this is a giant backstep into the 50’s there is no reason My daughters will be wearing a uniform and if that school or teacher wants to make any sort of issue of them practicing the rights and freedoms i will be glad to fight for them. why none of you want to fight for your child’s rights is beyond me, but they aren’t my responsibility. i am however ashamed that you are supposed to be my peers and you only care about your want’s and needs and have probably never asked your kids how they feel about wearing a uniform to school. abandoning the child hood freedoms that most of us enjoyed wearing clothes we liked and expressed who we are. it’s a shame what you all have become and i’m sure the youthful version of yourself would have no use for the rules your now defending. congratulations you gave up your Civil liberties just as willingly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, your a wonderful role model for your child. I Hope Your Proud of your ability to follow the rules, because it sounds more like the loss of ability to form your own opinion and the lack of backbone to stand for your beliefs and convictions.

    • Richard Moore says:

      So, your defense of the removing the uniform policy is that clothes make the person? Is that the only way that you can express yourself, through some corporate designed graphic on a t-shirt or label showing how much the garment cost?

      It’s really sad if the only way someone can set themselves apart from the crowd is their appearance.

      Maybe you should take your girls to a Miley Cyrus concert, she seems to have the same issue.

      • George says:

        No it’s not the only way to express yourself, but why hinder a child from the right to pick what they wear. it’s part of their growth and development decision making, it’s not my problem if you want your child to follow the leader and do as it’s told. My children will learn to think for themselves, from the earliest possible age. It is not my problem that you would rather rely on the school system to raise your child and teach it everything it will be. Perhaps you should grow up and learn to be a parent. you know instead of the beer chugging guy in the garage

        • Richard Moore says:

          So somehow a uniform inhibits thought, independent or not?

          I imagine some firefighters, police officers, nurses and even judges may disagree with you on that issue. Oh, and aviation mechanics, pilots, soldiers, etc., etc.

          I forget, which of Erikson’s stages was deemed successful if the child could wear clothes you determine are not “following the leader?” Or was it a theory of Bandura’s?

          And, just for your information, I chug beer on my back porch, not my garage. My two conformist cars take up too much room in there and really limit elbow room which is required for a good chug.

  19. CUTIE says:

    I was also called about my daughters clothes today about 1030 & like her, I had issues that prevented me from providing what the school required and like this mother I was forced to take my child home with me, resulting in her missing class time as well. My daughter wore a black collar shirt, black tights, and a blue tutu like skirt. When I got the call I asked if they could just take off the skirt and just let her keep on the black bottoms and black top. I was told the blue skirt and the tights were not allowed. I explained that it was pretty much a skort. But all my disputing, didn’t help and never once was I offered any spare clothing. I am disappointed with what happened today, my daughter hated to leave school. The focus was not education, it’s clothing. How can FCSB hold students to a higher standard with the dress code and the staff members are not. I love the uniform dress code but not more than my child getting her class time. Administrators, teachers, and staff need a uniform policy as well. It’s not only a great image but also a safety feature.

  20. Anonymous says:

    My sonand the rest of his teammates proudly wore the same exact Jersey today at ITMS and not a word was said. What a joke.

  21. Ralph Belcher says:

    Perhaps School Committeeman John Fischer can weigh in on this one? Is this part of his vision when he brought up the subject of school uniforms?

    • Ann Paris says:

      As one of those “evil teachers”, I have been able to teach a LOT more since we have implemented the dress code. I used to have an average of at least 5 students every day who were “showing too much skin”, especially girls. I had to send them out and they missed class time because they could not dress age-appropriately. I am also seeing a lot less undergarments on the boys–thank goodness!

      • Rick says:

        You mean they finally pulled their pants up so the under garments & half their ass isn’t exposed & also unrestricting the hold up hand?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Let’s have a special election and see if the school board can get more funding to hire more idiots at $100,000 a year to enforce the dress code, and to get money to provide uniforms to those who can’t afford them. If they’re going to provide Go’r one student, provide for all.

    I vote No!

  23. Kim says:

    Yes, rules are rules and they should be followed. Then don’t keep changing the rules!! The kids were allowed to wear team or organization shirts last year then it should have been maintained for this school year. Our children enjoy their extra curricular activities such as PAL and are proud to show that they belong to a team or an organization that promotes positive values and self esteem. In order to belong to most of these organizations a child needs to maintain good grades. Of course they would be proud to show they belong! Embarrassing them was very unnecessary.

  24. Charles Gardner says:

    Today would have been a good day for a little common sense, a warning and a note sent home to mom. Common sense isnt used much these days.

  25. Jeremy says:

    I agree about the point you made that the children shouldn’t miss out on their education. We just experienced an embarrassing moment for both of my children. They got stuck in the principals office for a tiny non offensive emblem on his pants. Also my daughters shorts being a half inch to short. What happened to education not fashion. The only thing I don’t agree upon your problem is the comment about pal their no more special compared to my children in which are hard workers who care about their community and respect their peers and others alike.

  26. Mom of PAL Player says:

    My son goes to Belle Terre and the same exact thing happened to him this morning. He was pulled out of his class as an “example” and sent to office for his jersey meanwhile the rest of class took spelling test! R you kidding me! He now has to make up test on Tuesday. Again missing some other instruction time to make it up. Our school system has become so ass backwards. Should we not be worrying about the drugs in schools or dropouts or maybe even test scores instead of clothing choice. These kids on these local teams as far as I know have to have decent grades to play these sports and are excited and proud to be part of something and love to show their TEAM spirit. Something I believe the school system should maybe think about encouraging instead of discouraging. This dress code policy was a joke to begin with and now the school board and system look like a joke! BTW…the letter did say local team jersey is acceptable.

  27. Jeremy says:

    Agree upon rules should be equal. Bottom line was we were wrong as parents to teach our kids the wrong way while we should have directed them to follow the rules even if we don’t agree as a family.

  28. confidential says:

    Looks like selective school dress code, enforcement takes place.. Why to traumatize and shame those two young students in front of their classmates?

  29. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    The school overreacted, which is becoming more and more common. And then their solution is to turn the jerseys inside out? How much more ridiculous can you get?

    “These boys had been practicing four days a week, two and a half hours per day ” 1st and 2nd grade boys are practicing football 10 hours a week? That is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. At this age they should be learning and enjoying the game, not taking on a part time job.

  30. tampanative says:

    I have no sympathy for you. The rules were put on the school district website back on June 4, 2013. You had all summer to adjust yourself to the school uniform requirements. It clearly states the following:
    On designated school Spirit Days or special events, students
    may wear their school logo t-shirt, team jersey, or club shirt.
    Items must represent the school the student attends. Friday
    of each week will be a designated Spirit Day. Special school
    event days (such as Homecoming Week, Cancer Awareness
    Day, Red Ribbon Week, etc.) will be designated by the
    school; dates will be released in advance. They do recognize that students can wear boy scout or girl scout uniforms but only on normal meeting days.

  31. Freddy says:

    I do not see a parent of a child that goes to a private or parochial school complain about their children wearing uniforms. Now take a look at the percentage of those children that go on to college and have successfully careers against those that end up in minimum wage jobs.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Red herring. Those schools’ success has NOTHING to do with what the kids are wearing and everything to do with other things. Like the fact that parents who are paying through the nose for their kids’ education are more engaged in their kids’ education to make sure they get their money’s worth. And also, private schools just expel anyone who is disruptive or not succeeding – they only keep the best kids. Public schools can’t do that. They have to keep everyone. The bar is very high for expulsion.

  32. Anon says:

    Would they have been allowed to play in their game witht the wrong uniform?

  33. shannonp says:

    It’s happened a lot… including to my daughter who changed schools this year and accidentally wore a color from elementary to middle school. All parents were told that PAL jerseys weren’t allowed this year. Has to be school spirit. Rules are rules. Why have them if not to be enforced. By making such a big deal about it you’re doing more of a disservice. At least you didn’t have to explain to your boss why you had to leave — and try to get someone to cover you — and lose money.

    • SummerK says:

      All parents weren’t told that PAL jerseys weren’t allowed this year. I received an email the first week of school, as well as a reverse 911 telephone call from ITMS, saying that local team jerseys and tshirts WERE allowed. If they aren’t going to allow it, that is fine. But do not tell the kids it is ok, and then embarrass them when they wear what they were told was fine.

  34. FlaglerGrandma says:

    I was supportive of the dress code, but this needs to be addressed. Apparently the schools aren’t on the same page and interpret the rules differently. I blame the administration for that, they need to teach their staff the rules. Perhaps the rules also need to be tweaked and modified. How about relaxing the color rule to allow for shirts as long as they are without logos, sayings, pictures. No yoga pants, which is causing a fuss with mr granddaughter at her school this year. I agree yoga pants are not appropriate school attire.

    Focus on teaching the kids, as an additional lesson teach them hygiene and dress. Pants, jeans without holes, modest tops, no tank tops or bras showing, etc. should be considered. A dress code is fine when it is reasonable, but it is counterproductive to send a child out of class when a child should be learning.

  35. Don't B A Follower says:

    I swear some of the people knocking this mom sound like repugnant fools and they probably have never had to put a uniform on in their life. People, our opinions are always going to vary! However, when you have no acceptance or understanding you FAIL a child! Rules are meant to bend and flex!

  36. Fisherman says:

    Fisher likes orange uniforms. They promote good behavior, and can identify gang members.

  37. Ken Dodge says:

    Now don’t you worry and don’t dismay; Common Core is coming to save the day.

  38. Florida Native says:

    Maybe Landon and Netts can fix this too since they are so smart and have a solution for everything else. (Yes I know they aren’t on the school board thank goodness.)

  39. Lisa U says:

    Before anyone looks at this mom like she was in the wrong, I just searched the district site as well as the Bunnell Elementary School site and there are NO policy changes regarding Jerseys or PAL uniforms. Last update was June 5, 2013. My son is in an ESE class and last year attended a exceptional student field day and was given a shirt and he wears it on Fridays as it was a school organization shirt. I will continue sending him in it along with my two other sons in their PAL shirts. Until I see written policy changes on the websites or they send a letter home making parents aware of an official change, then I will abide by what was given out so far this school year.

    • tampanative says:

      PAL is not a school organization. The jerseys the policy is talking about are athletic jerseys from that school. They can wear club t-shirts, athletic jerseys from their school only not outside organizations.

      • justaperson says:

        What elementary schools have school sanctioned sports? Does BES have a team? No. These kids were allowed to wear their shirts last year with NO problems.

  40. dogman says:

    Ok parents of Palm Coast schools do you think its about time for a school board change not just 1 or 2 all of them need to go so next election step up an make a chang e i no i will not be voting for the current ones.

  41. Ella says:

    It is interesting to see how many people get in a huff over a sports jersey. Do these same people show up to offer input at school board meetings about issues that REALLY matter? My guess is no.

  42. m&m says:

    This lady did not follow the rules and her kids paid the price. There are school board meetings regularly and the only people there are the board members.. The attendees are zero.. If these people whining over this rule were so concerned why don’t they attend the meetings that controls your childrens future.

  43. ryan says:

    We need to stop allowing the punishing of good kids and if we don’t gift school administrators and school employees with anonymity, it will help. Let’s only punish the discipline problem kids not the good kids. Enough is enough and we don’t want our kids stripped of their identity and individuality with school uniforms.

  44. Binkey says:

    Here is the dress code from the FCSB website. It does list the procedure for students out of uniform and does cover spirit day.

    There are questions for both the school and the district. The school does not set district policy.

    School questions
    Were the rules broken?
    Was discipline (if rule was broken) carried out as described in the plan?

    District Questions
    Is the plan being followed with equality at all schools?
    Has adequate information been given to parents concerning changes?

  45. ogrethetop says:

    How can you be mad at your short comings as a parent? Did take the time to read the rules? look at the lesson you taught your kids today.

  46. Mr.mondex says:

    What about the child who can’t make the team because he’s just not up to snutf -athletic standards ,,,,the parents here are at fault for not adhering to the plain as day dress code. Flagler county implemented. I know for a fact a very close friend of mine there child didn’t make the basketball team because he was not tall enough by the coach’s standard’s couldn’t quite shoot the hoops like some of his peers ,so in turn was not allowed to join the team .this child was academically superior in class to his so called basketball pals who were on the team. Now why should the flunky tall kid be allowed to show off to all his peers in class how big of a macho basketball player he is !!!! That’s only part of the reason for the dress code . one good example why the children need to adhere to the MANDATORY dress code.i know when I was in jr.high school it was a big deal to give your girl friend. Your letter jacket if you were a sports jock .look today where some of those so called big shot letter jacket jocks are today,, some made it big on professional teams. And some?? Well !!!!!

    • Martha says:

      No child is turned down in PAL. You don’t try out for the team. Children of this age dont really have many skills, they are developing them and being taught how to manage school and sports. That is why there should be no dress code-kids need to have their own identity.

    • PC Mom says:

      There is no such thing…. If your child keeps their grade up, they can make the team. PAL is not based on athletics….its grades and behavior.

  47. Martha says:

    Stupidity is alive and well. The schools and school board need to do their job of educating our children and not try to be the parent. What’s the next step, are they going to say briefs or boxers? If they worried as much about educating our children, they may know something by the time they graduate, and they may make it to graduation. What’s the drop out rate in Flagler County. How much of our tax dollars are spent on disciplining bullshit cases like this. These children didn’t deserve to be emotionally damaged; I’m sure this was scary for them to be taken to the office and hear their parent and a school official feud. It’s interesting the rules vary from school to school. Reading, writing and math doesn’t vary….how about focusing on that Richard DuPont and the rest of the BES staff, School Board members, and Administrators.

  48. Flager County teacher says:

    I teach in Flagler County Schools. We are told clearly that we are to enforce this code. Please stop blaming the teachers. We WANT CHILDREN IN CLASS. If students are seen out of dress code we are disciplined for not sending them to the office.

    Teacher dress code… it would be great if it was acceptable for me to wear jeans and a collared polo shirt every day. I wear dresses, suits, dress pants, blouses. I am a model for my students and dress as a professional business person. perhaps if school children came to school in more professional attire, this dress code thing would never have happened. Is it OK for kids to show underwear, cleavage, bellyies and rear ends at school? Do you really want your appropriately dressed child to have to see that on another student each day? When we sent kids to the office then for inappropriate dress, parents complained that kids should wear what they want. Who are we to judge what is offensive? Should your K-3 child need to see a pink bra unde a white top on a 5/6th grader? I don’t want to see it either. These kids are not at the beach. They are at a place of work-of sorts. We need to convey that message.

    There is no easy solution here. Society has changed and most anything goes when it comes to clothes out in public.. Go to the school board and express your thoughts. It is your right as an American and what this country is all about. Please direct your comments to those who are the real cause of this debacle. Not those who must enforce these rules. The rules we enforce are not life threatening like Auschwitz. Would you risk your job for something as simple as dress code? I won’t. Remember new teachers no longer have tenure and can be let go for ANY reason.

    • Devrie says:

      I don’t think anyone really blames the teachers. It’s a county issue, because it doesn’t make sense that there are students at ITMS having different standards than BTMS and the same for BES and BTES, Etc.

      I think there is an inherent problem, though, with first time offenses for something that was clearly a misunderstanding causing an interruption in class. I think that hurts students and teachers. It seems it could disproportionately affect low-income students, putting the staff in a very difficult position: do they allow the child who is struggling with school materials and is interested in learning to go back to class (which isn’t fair to the other students), or do they keep some of these kids out of class when there may not be any chance the parent will come any time soon to correct the situation?

      Considering one commenter here said that her child had the same issue at ITMS and was just given a warning, it’s obvious that there are some consistency issues here.

      I understand the uniform policy and its potential benefits, yet I’m not sure keeping a kid out of class is the ideal solution considering the diversity of income ranges of students who attend these schools.

      There is NOT an easy solution; however, the main objective for implementing the uniform policy in the first place was to strengthen the students’ focus on academics. Taking kids out of class to correct the uniform issue seems counter-productive.

  49. Mike says:

    Rules are rules, understood, send a note home with the children or call the parents so next week this does not happen again if this truly is the rule. To pull out a 1st and 2nd grader and make them believe they are in trouble for a frivolous violation, come on. The FCSD is a laughing stock of education, we have huge problems but we must humiliate a 7 and 8 year old to get our point across. I say suspend the VP for three days with no pay, see how he feels about the humiliation factor. Our school district is a joke and so are those running it, next election people need to vote out the current board and force change in the district. Yet we want to promote Oliva to superintendent, we will have the same mentality as we have now, no new vision just a school board puppet.

  50. Amanda says:

    Children only get one childhood. Do we really want to rob them of it?

  51. Mom To Three says:

    My children’s qualities and personalities make them individuals. My son’s funny out going charm make him stand out in the sea of khaki shorts and blue polos at his school. I support the uniform policy for this reason. I’m glad children are not allowed to be known as the boy who’s underwear is always showing or the girl who likes to show to much skin or the kid that shops at Walmart instead of Hollister. A uniform policy does not prevent a child from expressing individuality. It levels the playing field. If everyone has the same look on the outside then what is on the inside is what shines through. The handling of this particular situation I do not agree with. Rules are Rules but in this case a little common sense should have ruled. Young students are dressed with the guidance of their parents a simple note home would of been better. This is only the second week of school and it was Spirit Friday and they were wearing PAL uniforms. The dress code is not the problem. The enforcement and erratic interpretation by different administrations is the problem.

  52. Flager County teacher says:

    Friday is SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY. Maybe we should have days for outside of school activities from time to time. It would be a nice idea to show support for one another. Let’s be part of the solution. No offense to PAL or any other group out there who does good things for kids. But, can kids on those teams where BES, BTMS, OKES, MHS,WES, FPC, ITMS, RES…… shirts to practices/games? The reason behind school spirit is to be proud of your school. Not your activities outside of school.

  53. Gia says:

    In any private school every body respect the solid color uniform without any problem. In Flagler co without discipline & any standard we end up with dwarf, & ignorant. Look a them in the streets or a WalMart dress for failure they look just like slobs.

  54. turtle says:

    If administrators had put this much effort into making sure kids followed the previous dress code then we would not have “needed” a uniform policy! Before, the kids violating the dress code were doing so in attire that was too revealing or had offensive language on it. Now, with the “new and improved” uniform policy, kids wearing innocent, completely unoffensive clothing are being ridiculed. Our School Board should be proud of themselves (NOT!!!) : /

  55. Jack Howell says:

    Where in the hell is the “common sense” you’d expect a school administrator to use? Granted, the parent may have been wrong (and that’s questionable) but, a good administrator will create a short term workable solution.

    • Mike says:

      @ Jack, you hit the nail right on the head Sir, this is insane that it went this far, I am sure that this could have been handled by a simple note or phone call. This is nothing more than the school disdtrict being a bully, why punish and make a 6 & 7 year old feel badly about wearing a football jersey on spirit day of all things. Maybe if our district put as much effort into cutting costs we would not have the financial deficit we have now, just a thought.

  56. katie seamore says:

    The inmates are running the asylum.

  57. Yellowstone says:

    Interestingly we live in an environment where you can run around nearly everywhere in Palm Coast and Flagler Beach with less than 10% covered. The beach is an exaggeration – but it is what it is and the kids growing up here know. And really, so do we all . . . No one tells me what to wear. And at the beach – who cares!

    Everyday you can see your kids, and others, wearing anything they can get away with. This is primary to fundamentally expressing who they are. Their peers decide what is acceptable or not. Wear the same dress two days in a row – and you stink (figuratively).

    But when they show up at school, the rules change drastically. Unless you want your kids in the military, NFL, NBA – lay off the baloney of forcing them what to wear.

    As said before, “Wait until the lawsuits show up on the docket”. Things will then change – surprise.

  58. Seriously says:

    What part of the article did people not understand-that is was cleared that ALL outside spirts/clubs Tshirts, Jersys, and shells (cheer) were APPROVED the day before. Infact my daughters teacher sent an email that students were ALLOWED to wear such items. Also a PHONE CALL also went out. So this MOM did follow the rules. PAL allows EVERYONE to participate. What a joke. I take it these people who ridiculed this mother clearly didn’t read this article-and only read what they wanted. No surprise there. Mrs. Taylor please bring your petition to game days-As I am sure the Cheer family would sign it as well.

  59. village voice says:

    Trying to get folks to step out of their world of shallowness defined by materialism is no small feat since it takes away their entire purpose of existence.

    Lynne Truss wrote in her book ‘Talk to the Hand’ that people, most particularly liberals, are the most name brand conscious. Here is an excerpt from her book that pretty much sums it up:

    “If everyone is doing it, do it. You will be accepted by your peers. You can relax. […] The glory of stuff has swept most other considerations aside. […] We respect anyone who’s got the latest iPod. […] How you act is less important, in terms of status, than what you have.

    It is not just children or members of the shaven head bling-bling street gangs who are infected with this stuff-anxiety, either. I have sophisticated, left leaning friends who visibly cheer up when the subject turns to designer clothes, and I have long been aware that my refusal to care about clothes as status symbols gives them actual pain.”

    (This quote follows a very shallow conversation between a left leaning journalist and a friend of Ms Truss in which the journalist set out to put down her friend’s outfit) Friend: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it usually aspiring gangsta rappers who set such store by designer labels?”
    ― Lynne Truss, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door

    • Nancy N. says:

      What a crap-load full of assumptions to justify your out of hand dismissal of those who disagree with you.

      Lynne Truss is a UK right-winger who obviously looks down on liberals and is making global assumptions about all of them from her own obviously shallow friends. The proper lesson to be learned is that she needs better quality friends, not that they represent all liberals.

      I’m one of those “liberals” who opposes the uniform code, and it has NOTHING to do with wanting to put my child in name brand clothing. My child owns nothing that didn’t come from discount stores, as does virtually all my own wardrobe. I’m writing this dressed in Walmart sweats and a college t-shirt. I work all day at my computer in my home office. That’s my work wear.

      Opposition to the uniform code doesn’t have to be about labels and fashion. There are a lot of practical reasons for opposing it, as well as philosophical ones.

      From a philosophical standpoint, I just simply believe that there are limits to the school’s authority over my child’s life. Schools try to do too much parenting. They are infringing on my rights as a parent to care for my child as I see fit. I’m tired of it. Telling me something as basic as how to DRESS her is WAY over the line. It’s none of their freaking business as long as she shows up dressed appropriately for her school activities. All this justification about “teaching them how to dress in the work world”, etc – that’s MY decision about how to raise my child and what lessons I want to teach her in that area.

      From a practical standpoint, I’m tired of having to panic and do last-minute loads of laundry because my child has a closet full of clean clothes, but not the “right” clean clothes. I’m tired of having to spend money (and time) to make sure that I have extra clothes because what if she spills on her last clean set of uniforms? I’m tired of having to spend extra money on special clothes, and worry while shopping if those clothes meet every single detail of the complicated dress code. Will they be ok with that color, that style? I’m tired of her having a growth spurt in February and having to replace all her school clothes, when all the cheap uniforms that were everywhere in August have vanished from stores and you have to order online and pay through the nose (yes, that happened to us last year) to replace them because it’s the only way to get them. It’s ridiculous. In addition, my child has compromised motor skills and can’t do button and zipper waists on pants. So trying to meet the uniform code is a nightmare because I can’t find bottoms that have elastic waists that fit her (she’s a slim size) and also meet the uniform code. It’s added a whole new layer of complexity to dressing a child that is already hard to dress. She’s also autistic and very picky about texture and how clothes feel. It makes it that much harder.

      I don’t want the uniforms gone so I can put designer clothes on her – I want the uniforms gone so she can go back to wearing her comfy sweats that fit her and accommodate her motor skill issues, that she feels good in! I want the uniforms gone so she can wear to school her favorite “Pittsburgh” t-shirt that I brought her back from a business trip. I want the child’s closet to stop busting at the seams with two entire wardrobes. I want to stop having to do huge amounts of laundry “special care” in a desperate effort to preserve the life of her school clothes so they don’t have to be replaced “off season” at inflated prices.

      This isn’t about materialism. It’s about parental rights and flexibility to raise your kid in a way that is appropriate for THEM.

  60. Do as I do says:

    You don’t see Administration and staff wearing uniforms. They should lead by example. From the many functions I’ve been to it is a joke to see how those that should be setting an example for our children dress and maintain them selves. The dress code needs to be lifted, and more focus needs to placed on educating our children. This is not private school, and our children are entitled to an education. For what I pay in school taxes, I don’t want my money spent and bullshit like enforcing uniforms.

  61. jp says:

    You parent need to make sure the rules are followed, Ive seen prior to the rules baggie pants, underwear hanging out, thongs hanging out, poorly dressed trash all over the place….ohhh, your baby needs to dress well, its a burden……

  62. Steve Smith says:

    I have to laugh at this discussion as I remember my youth and the uproar over schools back in the 60’s when mini skirts became popular. Dress codes were then developed over how short a skirt could be. Could blue jeans be worn, could girls wear pants. The same comments I see today are the same as the ones then.
    I support a school uniform concept for the simple reason that it makes it easy on both parents and students to know what to wear to school with no ambiguity.

  63. carol says:

    I am a grandmother, so i dont directly have kids in school, but i never liked the school uniform policy, simply because it creates a hardship for many that just cannot buy new clothes each year, nuff said there. Solution for this problem, say the school provides a tunic, one size fits all, so to say, big enough to cover exposed skin and droopy drawers, upon arriving in his class room each child is issued one, before leaving to get back on the buses or go home they turn it back in. This way parents wont have to drive too many miles back to school to take the kids home etc; and the children wont have to miss class time. The parents can pay for 1 or more tunics and they wont be so burdened with many uniforms etc; Install a wash machine in the custodial room and wash them after the week or so.

  64. carol says:

    Plus this isnt just in Flagler County also in St. Johns and i would imagine many others in the state.

  65. justaperson says:

    I was a HUGE supporter of the uniform policy when it was proposed several years ago. Since it’s been active, I HATE! HATE! the policy! What can we, as parents, do to get the school board to change it? What is it going to take? I’m willing to go to every single school board meeting there is but do you really think they’re going to change it?

  66. BP says:

    Reading this commentary and reading these comments makes me SO happy that my children attend school in St. Johns County. We seem to have a sensible dress code, we’ve never been called to task for something our kids have picked out to wear. Yes, we monitor our children’s clothing to make sure it’s appropriate for school, the weather, etc., but we allow our children to decide what they want to wear within those guidelines.

    It seems to me that so much more attention is being focused on what the child is wearing than what the child is learning. You want to have a dress code/uniform policy? Then make the policy UNIFORM across the district. It’s obvious that the policy is NOT being policed evenly from school to school or even classroom to classroom.

    It’s early in the school year. Why couldn’t the administrators involved placed a note or even a call to the parents in the hands of the children to educate or re-educate the parents on what is acceptable? To remove a child from instruction because they were wearing a football jersey instead of a collared shirt is ludicrous and a waste of everyone’s time and energy. I could see the removal of the child from the classroom if the clothing were indecent or inflammatory in some way; but a football jersey?!?

    Again, thank God I’m in St. Johns County!!!

  67. BES MOM says:

    The uniforms were put in place to stop the baggy pants and boxers hanging out, the skirts and shorts so short that you can see the young ladies business. There are far more issues with Bunnell Elementary than dress code. The boys should not have been pulled from class. They could have called mom and told her that in the future this is not allowed we are only a few weeks into the school year. Children 4th grade and up are supposed to wear belts walk the halls most do not. I am one of few parents that agree that the uniforms are a good thing. There is less picking on kids for what they wear. The bulling is never going to stop until the schools put their foot down and make the children responsible for their actions. If you put your hands on another student 10 days like it used to be not 2 days in school suspension fowl language a day out per a letter up to 10 days ago old school.. Now they get a slap on the wrist and continue to bully other children not to mention there are to many parents out there who just don’t care so when a parent contacts the school who does care they have no idea how to react. I know for a fact that BES does have shirts as my son was giving 2 last year that were washed and returned as request as he ended up getting the one I sent him bloody 2 different shirts neither time was the student who caused it punished other than stand on the wall at recess for 5 minutes the school didn’t replace the shirt I purchased. School Board needs to step up on this and make sure children are not targeted. If they notice a child is not in compliance to the dress code call the parent see if they can bring a change if they cannot then advise them of the rule broken and give a warning the children should never be pulled out of class for that… Education is to important.

  68. Kathy says:

    My daughter attends BES and was pulled from breakfast at the end of last school term, by the vice principal, for wearing a lighter blue denim pair of jeans. She had worn these jeans once every 2 weeks since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. She was forced to sit in a “reflection” room for a little over an hour before I received a phone call. My daughter was terrified because she thought she had done something wrong and was going to get in trouble. I had to leave me job, pick her up and leave her with a sitter. So my daughter never received any educational instruction that day. My daughter was disciplined 4 days before the end of the school year for wearing jeans she had worn all year long because they were a lighter blue denim color. Her teacher apologized to my daughter because the teacher thought the jeans were proper dress code. Teachers and administrators need to be on the same page as far as what’s “acceptable” and what’s not. Prior to the revised code, I saw kids going to & coming from school in grey & white bottoms.

  69. Toni Baker, Candidate for School Board says:

    Reading this amazing reaction to the “dress code” such as it is is inspiring! I recently attended a board meeting and requested it be repealed in totality. One of the board members said they were tired of seeing “boobs” and the policy has put them at ease. That is a parent and self-respect issue for our children and needs to be addressed through conversations with our children and parents of those children who choose to dress inappropriately.

    I have seen the inconsistency, I have shopped all over to try to find the “right color” the right length, and at the same time give my twins some sense of style that they crave at 13 years old. I have seen children color their hair in rainbow colors to show their individuality. I have seen a group of staff, on a random day, go child to child and send them all up on a stage at lunch and publicly embarrass them in front of the entire lunch room!

    It is my mission to get rid of this feckless dress code, but until then I will, as a parent, try to abide by it. It can and should change. If you choose to go to a school, charter, private you opt into the uniform. That uniform is usually EXACTLY dictated and is just what it says… a Uniform.

  70. Random Person says:

    @Ken Dodge.
    ☉ ☉

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