A New Jersey charter school is making changes to its policy after the fallout over video of several students who were booted from class over minor dress code violations.
In a letter to parents, Marion P. Thomas Charter school addressed its uniform policy, which it says is “intended to promote an effective learning environment” while teaching students the appropriate dress and decorum for school, as well as future places of business.
“Our high school team wanted to ensure our students complied with this policy, for all the reasons aforementioned,” read the letter, dated Aug. 28. “Their best intentions led to some students being asked to return home. We have communicated with our families that were impacted by this decision.”
The school faced severe backlash earlier this week after a video shared on social media showed several high School students hanging out at a public park in their uniforms after they say they were booted from school. One teen explained he was asked to leave class simply because he had white soles on the bottoms of his shoes.
The students said nearly of half the school was sent home over the alleged violations. The sight prompted a local youth worker to confront school leaders about its dress code policy, blasting officials for kicking students into the streets for minor violations.
“I’m at the park working with kids, and I see like 50 children walk into the park saying they can’t get into school because they don’t have all-black shoes,” he says. “I have a problem. That’s saying that because they’re poor, you can treat them like this. You will not do this!”
Amid the outrage, the school said it has since changed its policy to one that doesn’t put students in harm’s way.
“While we realize school policies are important, we recognize that our students’ well-being is of utmost importance,” the letter read. “Therefore, we have implemented a process that will not compromise the safety of our high school students.”
“We look forward to working with all our families for a successful and productive school year,” it concluded.