Short shorts cause dress code dispute at Elkhorn middle school

A student at Elkhorn Area Middle School is calling on administrators to change the dress code policy.

Ursylla Monsler-Bell said she and several of her friends were pulled out of class Wednesday morning because a teacher deemed their shorts were too short. 

She estimated at least 20 girls were taken out of class for dress code violations. 

“It was surprising and pretty irritating how many of us there were,” Monsler-Bell said. 

She said some parents brought girls different shorts or pants to change into. 

Monsler-Bell and her Mother decided she would go home for the day. 

“It was wrong,” said Ursylla’s Mother Carol Bell. “They didn’t deserve to be pulled out of class." 

The school’s student handbook includes a portion on dress code, which states that a student’s clothes should not be a distraction or a disturbance. 

The dress code reads: “clothing, such as skirts and shorts, must be of an appropriate length and extend to the fingertips or longer when the arms are placed at the sides.” 

“If you have short arms, you can wear short shorts,” Carol Bell said. “If you have long arms, you’ll need your shorts to be down to your knees.” 

She admitted Ursylla’s shorts were not compliant with the policy, but thinks the dress code is outdated and needs to be changed. 

“I’m a parent, and I think I’m the one who should be making the choice of what she wears,” Bell said. “Not the school.” 

Elkhorn Area Middle School Principal Bryan Frost said he's aware that it can be difficult for students to find shorts that are compliant with the policy, while also being stylish. 

Frost said the school does review all the policies in its student handbook each year, which includes the dress code. 

Regarding the students removed from class Wednesday, Frost said, "All that ended up happening was some conversations with students about what is appropriate." 

He added he did receive phone calls from parents who support the dress code in its current form, and were appreciative of his staff adhering to the policy. 

The dress code listed in the handbook is "what all students signed off on when they registered for school," Frost said. 

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