Texas Kids Suspended for Untucked Shirts

Thirteen-year-old Raylee Montgomery was walking down the hall at school, when an administrator stopped and pointed out her untucked shirt, a dress code violation.

After Montgomery tucked in her shirt and asked if she could continue to class, she was given a one-day suspension.

Montgomery's mother said her daughter, a straight-A high school freshman, called her in tears.

Teresa Montgomery said her daughter wasn't wearing a half-shirt, a mini skirt or anything else she would consider questionable. Raylee missed a day of school just because her conservative collared shirt wasn't completely tucked in.

No Tuck = No Class

"The dress code as itself is not a problem," Teresa Montgomery said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America Wednesday. "I oppose the enforcement of it. I think it is too strict. I don't think that they should be suspended from school because a shirt becomes untucked. That stops an education and it is not necessary," she said.

Montgomery's daughter isn't alone. At least 700 students have been suspended since Duncanville High School and Ninth Grade Center in Duncanville, Texas, started its zero-tolerance dress code policy this school year. Administrators at the school, which opened with 3,540 students, have been suspending the students for dress code violations since the new school year began in August.

High school senior Amber Holbrook, 17, was suspended after her long-sleeved collared shirt became untucked.

"I was in my first class and a disciplinarian principal came in. He asked us to all stand up by row so they could show like whether our shirts were tucked in, if we had belts," Holbrook said. "As I was sitting down, the back of my shirt had come untucked and he wouldn't let me tuck it back in," she said.

For years, there had been complaints that students were violating the rules and not suffering any consequences. So over the summer, the Duncanville school board asked administrators to tighten dress code enforcement. Board members say that paying attention to details like clothing has helped reduce discipline problems in the school.

Jerry Cook, the Superintendent of Schools in the Duncanville Independent School District, provided a statement to ABCNEWS:

"The Duncanville ISD administration is enforcing a code that was adopted by the DISD Board of Trustees. The code has been well-communicated to the district community of parents and patrons."

But some parents say they are really concerned over what they believe are extreme consequences.

What's the Lesson Plan?

David Holbrook says he doesn't understand what kind of lesson his daughter, Amber, is supposed to learn from the school's policy.

"Suspending students for dress code violation seems counterproductive to education," Holbrook said. "There are better ways to punish something like that than taking a child out of school to miss classes," he said.

Mary 'Fritz' Ketchum, a former PTA president in Duncanville, said she supports the school's tough code, even though her own son, Kevin, got suspended for his untucked shirt this year.

"I supported it from day one," Ketchum said. "I continue to support the school board and Dr. Cook in this effort. I do think it is important for our children to understand they need to follow the rules."

Dress code violations are treated like other offenses, ranging from talking out in class to taking a weapon to school. Those who break the dress code one time receive a one-day suspension. Second-time offenders receive two-day suspensions, while those who are charged with a third offense receive a two-day suspension, plus a loss of school privileges.

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