School district responds to mother's complaint

By Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Sep 04 2014 03:50:34 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 04 2014 06:59:46 PM EDT

VIDEO: A student at Oakleaf High school was made to wear a shame suit because she violated school dress code policy and now her mom is crying foul.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -

A Clay County Schools spokesman on Thursday talked about the issue of a 15-year-old girl having to wear a bright yellow shirt and red sweatpants reading "Dress code violator" at school.

That was Miranda Larkin's punishment for wearing a skirt that was too short at Oakleaf High School.

"We want students back in classrooms learning," Clay County Schools spokesman Gavin Rollins said. "That's the intent, to get students quickly remedied to the dress code violations so they can be learning."

 Rollins said if high school students violate dress code policy, they are given three options.

They can choose in-school suspension and remain in their outfit, but do their work in an isolated classroom so they're not distracting to others.

They can call a parent or guardian to have them bring proper clothes for the student to change into.

Or they can change into a dress code outfit the school provides that looks like what Larkin wore.

Larkin's mother, Dianna Larkin, said her daughter wasn't given those other two options. The school district said Miranda Larkin was able to call her mom at some point, but Dianna Larkin said her daughter was only able to call after she had the outfit on, because she was given permission by the nurse after becoming upset and breaking out in hives.

School Board District 5 candidate Ashley Gilhousen said she believes all school rules are for protection of the children. Her opponent, Sandra Dunnavant, agrees.

"As a veteran teacher of 43 years, every single year we wrote together, the teachers and parents and students, and published a student handbook. And one big issue is the dress code," Dunnavant said.

Rollins did not have much of an answer when asked about why Miranda Larkin wasn't given the other options. He did say the district encourages parents to always come forward with possible solutions.

"The parent in this situation is clear she agrees a dress code violation occurred, but she doesn't like the way it was handled. So we ask her, what would she do?" Rollins said.

Dianna Larkin said in response the other two options offered would have been a viable solution, however, her daughter was never offered them.

As for how the school decided on the design of the dress code violator outfit, Rollins said it chose the neon colors with the big block writing so students won't steal the outfit.

Some have said the neon outfit is just as distracting, if not more, than Miranda Larkin's original outfit.

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