PROVO Some parents aren't happy with Dixon Middle School's newly implemented dress code. And the fact the school's administration is refusing to release the tally of the parent vote is adding fuel to the fire.
"I'm pretty steamed about it," said parent Julie Webb.
About 300 parents voted on the dress code proposal during the last two weeks.
The dress code committee had stated there needed to be 80 percent support for the measure to pass.
Dixon Middle principal Rosanna Ungerman says the dress code committee weighed all areas of input, including the votes from parents of sixth- and seventh-grade students, along with surveys or votes of teachers, PTA members and community council members. Thrown into the mix were student essays written by an English class last fall.
In an unscientific process, the committee determined there was 78 percent support.
Ungerman declined to release the statistical data or explain numerically how the committee came up with 78 percent. "I'm not going to share the vote tally with the public," she said.
When asked why, Ungerman said, "Because it didn't pass."
She added the parental vote "by itself was a clear majority in favor" of the proposal.
The original dress code proposal required students to wear collared shirts along with khaki, brown, green, navy or black pants. Shorts or skirts below the knee were allowed. No logos were permitted. Earrings were the only piercings allowed.
Many parents weren't thrilled with the proposal.
"I wouldn't dress my kid in something that says, 'Please kick my a--.' BYU doesn't even have that strict of a dress code," said parent Amy Tilton.
Student opinions are mixed, but most are against the dress code. "We should be able to wear what we want to wear. And collared shirts are ugly," said Stephanie Case, 14, an eighth-grader at Dixon Middle, who was wearing a red T-shirt with hearts and the words, "I miss your boyfriend."
But since the level of support for the dress code was so high, the committee recommended a compromise. Along with the original dress code, modest jeans will be allowed and any school logo can be on shirts. The students can wear school logo sweatshirts over their collared shirts.
LeAnne Arnold, Dixon Middle PTA member who headed up the committee, said many of the parents who voted against the proposal simply had issues with the ban on jeans. "We really are trying to be fair," she said.
Arnold added 80 percent was the set required number but 78 percent is "the vast majority."
Ungerman points out that school administration has the right to make policy decisions. Input was gathered so as to measure opinions of the Dixon community.
After hearing the dress code committee's recommendation, Ungerman discussed the issue with district administration and then announced the decision Thursday night.
But Friday, parents interviewed said they felt the decisionmaking process was unfair since the committee said there needed to be 80 percent for the proposal to pass.
"They changed the rules," said parent Dalene Rowley. "That really bothers me. What kind of message are we giving to kids? Make up the rules as you go and change the rules later?"
"The vote was a farce," she said.
Ungerman said she felt, in retrospect, 80 percent was far too high a percentage to require. "The process was fair and we invited a lot of input," she said.
Many parents interviewed Friday also said they weren't aware of the vote since they didn't go to the Parent Teacher Conferences last week. And they don't support the proposal.
"There's nothing wrong with team logos," said parent Steve Atkins.One other parent interviewed is angry as well because the school didn't implement uniforms. "I want uniforms. The kids should be equal and not judged by their clothes," said parent Wanda Ibarra, adding they have uniforms in Puerto Rico.