CHARDON, Ohio (WJW) – Students and some parents stood in silent protest outside a Chardon school board member’s home Monday afternoon in protest of how dress code policy was monitored.
In August, recently-elected school board member Todd Albright requested the superintendent along with the high school and middle school principals stand with him at the corner of North Street and Allynd to see dress code violations first-hand as students left school.
According to the school district, the adults monitored students for about 15 minutes. In a letter addressed to the school district community, the school board president said minimal violations were reported in the first days of the school year and dress code policy was enforced. The superintendent reported this to board members prior to being asked to meet to observe perceived violations of dress code policy, which can be seen here on pages 44 and 45.
Some students and parents said watching children outside of school made them uncomfortable.
“Maybe in the future … they make that public before they do that so parents can be around or the kids can be aware that people are staring at them,” said parent Kristin Anderson.
Devney Rich, the student who organized the protest, said school board members should not enforce dress code policy and it would have been more appropriate for enforcement to come from school staff.
“Todd Albright has been overstepping and overusing the power that he has in uncomfortable ways so this is our community saying no,” said Rich.
Albright said he received several verbal complaints from staff and parents about how students dressed and felt compelled to act, sharing one account from a district staff member.
“The past two years or so the dress code has gone by the wayside … butt cheeks hanging out, bustier, no dress code being followed,” said Albright. “When brought to the principal, he says you’re checking out children.”
Albright said at issue was how both boys and girls dressed at school, including boys wearing ripped sleeved low-cut shirts.
“The fact that they automatically jumped to the conclusion that I was out there for perverse reasons is unusual because I’m not saying I want your daughters and sons to be less clothed or necessarily even more clothed I’m saying I want the policy upheld,” said Albright.