'My skin isn't distracting' — How Duval Schools students feel about the dress code

·3 min read
Youth of Today is a weekly newsletter focused on education and youth culture in Jacksonville produced by Emily Bloch
Youth of Today is a weekly newsletter focused on education and youth culture in Jacksonville produced by Emily Bloch

Happy Monday, thanks for tuning in and happy last week of school for the students it applies to.

Last week, the Times-Union dropped an exclusive look into what Duval Schools students have to say about the dress code.

"Sexualized." "Shoulders." "Knees." "Distracting."

Those are some of the terms most often used by Duval County high school students when asked about the district's dress code measures, according to comments collected from about 3,200 high school students by Duval County Public Schools.

Community members protest against Duval Schools' dress code at the beginning of the school year.
Community members protest against Duval Schools' dress code at the beginning of the school year.

In recent years — in light of the Me Too movement and social justice issues — young people have gone public about their issues with dress codes they say are sexist. Many say the dress code is inequitable when it comes to enforcement for boys versus girls.

Now, for the first time, school district officials have provided a formal outlet to let students express their frustrations.

Earlier this school year, Duval Schools rolled out a digital platform for students to discuss problems they have with the dress code and changes they would like to see made. The platform, ThoughtExchange, is a new form of data management software that lets students discuss a topic anonymously and "rate" comments they agree with, similar to 'liking' on Facebook or upvoting. Creators of the platform say it's an unbiased way to hear from everyone. It sort of works like Reddit, but in an anonymous, controlled environment. I got a copy of the survey findings. 

It reveals dozens of vulnerable comments from high school students who say the dress code is sexist and unfairly enforced.

"It [the dress code] needs to be made less focused on targeting young women as sexual objects," one student said. "I have been dress coded multiple times at school and was told it was because it was distracting. My skin isn't distracting. Disrupting my education because of holes in my jeans, my shoulder or midriff showing, is!"

Read the full story here

Crying in the aisles: What does baby formula shortage mean for Jacksonville-area moms and dads?

Amid a nationwide shortage, desperate Jacksonville-area parents have taken to social media to enlist family, friends and even strangers near and far to help them find baby formula.

With the shortage expected to last for weeks,  the need is urgent.

Times-Union reporter Beth Reese Cravey and I spoke with local parents about their experiences.

Local attorney James Poindexter and wife Katherine are among those impacted by the shortage. Their infant, Olivia, was born with severe allergies that keep her from being able to tolerate breast milk.

"Olivia has medical problems that require a very specific — and expensive — amino acid formula," Poindexter told me. "We cannot find it in the stores and we are having to resort to obscure online resales who are applying a 300 to 400 percent markup."

Indeed, online listings for the PurAmino Hypoallergenic Infant Formula, which typically retails for about $50, that Olivia needs are going for as much as $500. And supply is running low.

"We are below 10 cans now and have zero clue what to do in a few weeks when that runs out," he said. "It's awful."

Read the full story here 

What else?

🎓 Graduation commencement ceremonies are underway and happening inside again

‍💼  UNF has announced its new president-elect 

🏆  Stanton's Devil's Advocate takes top honors at Times-Union's High School Journalism Awards

Thanks for following along! A special shoutout to Stanton College Prep's student newspaper, Devil's Advocate for sweeping this year's High School Journalism Awards again. Great job, y'all!

See you next week,

–Emily Bloch, youth culture and education reporter

Emily Bloch is a youth culture and education reporter for The Florida Times-Union. Follow her on Twitter or email her. Sign up for her newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: 'My skin isn't distracting' — How Duval Schools students feel about the dress code