For Immediate Release

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ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737

ACLU Statement on Unlawful Enforcement of Dress Code Policy at Fairview Middle School

TALLAHASSEE - On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, a student at Fairview Middle School whose birth-assigned sex is male but who identifies as agender, wore a dress to school. Upon the student’s arrival at school, Principal Scott Hansen allegedly told them that wearing a dress was in violation of the dress code because dresses are not for boys. The school then contacted the student’s mother to provide the student a change of clothes.

Responding to the incident in a letter to Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons, ACLU of Florida Staff Attorney Daniel Tilley stated: 

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“It is well established that under both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause, school officials cannot force students to conform to sex stereotypes. . . . Schools may impose a gender-neutral requirement of proper, even formal, attire for school events (provided it does not create an undue financial burden for students). But schools cannot rely on sex stereotypes that require, for example, that boys wear tuxedos or suits and that girls wear dresses. . . . In addition, under the First Amendment, students have a right to express their gender nonconformity or gender identity through their dress and appearance.”

A copy of the letter can be found here: https://aclufl.org/resources/aclu-letter-to-leon-county-school-superintendent-on-unlawful-enforcement-of-dress-code-policy/

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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