TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) — Students at Pitman High School rallied behind a classmate who was suspended and handcuffed for violating the dress code.
About 100 students protested the dress code Mondy claiming it is sexist and not evenly enforced.
In response, the school district is promising change.
The incident all started with a crop top.
“He handcuffed me and I had my hands behind my back. And then I went into the golf cart up to the office and he filed a police report,” said Olivia Millentree, a Pitman High School senior.
Millentree wore a crop top and leggings to class last week and said a teacher called it distracting and told her to put on a t-shirt.
“It made me feel targeted for what I was dress code for because I don’t think it was a distraction to others,” Millentree said.
When she refused to change, she was given a suspension and warning to stay off campus.
“Words were exchanged that should not have been exchanged, and I came back at lunch to apologize for my behavior,” Millentree said.
It was then when she says the school resource officer arrested her for trespassing.
“I was scared. I was embarrassed; I was upset at the whole situation. A lot of people were looking at me,” Millentree said.
The situation sparked outrage from students who protested the dress code.
“I understand that dress codes is there for a reason, but I think the dress code is very, very strict,” said Holly Blythe, a sophomore.
Blythe was one of the dozens of students who rallied in support of Millentree by wearing crop tops, which would normally violate the dress code that she says unfairly punishes female students.
“Guys can wear no shirts at practice and I have to wear a t-shirt. I can’t wear a tank top. I can’t show any midriff. I can’t wear a sports bra. I don’t understand why guys can do one thing and girls can’t,” Blythe said.
It’s prompted the Turlock Unified School District to take a fresh look at its policy. They told FOX40 they will revise the rules moving forward.
As for Millentree, she won’t be able to return to school for the rest of the year — not even for graduation.
“It’s sad cause that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it makes me very sad that it came to this and that they used that against me,” Millentree said.
A punishment that many students and parents say doesn’t match the crime.
“For a belly button, she’s not going to be able to walk through her ceremony. I think that is absolutely ridiculous,” said Irma Ramirez, a parent.
The school district called Monday’s protest peaceful and respectful and said they will use the feedback from students and parents to revise the dress code next year.
The student protest today on dress code has been very peaceful. Pitman students have been respectful and have not caused a disruption to the learning environment. Some students silently participated by wearing a sticker instead of a certain shirt. Our students have provided some good feedback on aspects of our current dress code. In working with students, parents, and PBIS site teams, we will be moving forward at revising the TUSD dress code for the 2021-2022 school year.Angela Freeman, Pitman High School Principal
Both Turlock and Pitman High Schools are gathering student input and will be following a process to revise the TUSD Dress Code in collaboration with Student Services and our 7-12 site PBIS teams.Marie Russell, Chief Communication Coordinator TUSD