NAPA, Calif. — Wearing Winnie the Pooh-themed socks to school got a seventh-grader into hot water with the principal for violating her school’s “appropriate attire policy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and a law firm are now suing the Napa Valley Unified School District and Redwood Middle School on behalf of Toni Kay Scott, 14, five other students and their parents, alleging the dress code is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad and too restrictive.
The policy requires students to wear clothes with solid colors in blue, white, green, yellow, khaki, gray, brown and black. No denim is allowed. Permitted fabrics are cotton twill, corduroy and chino.
The lawsuit, filed March 19, said the policy goes too far and forces aesthetic conformity in the name of safety. The rules violate the California Education Code, said plaintiffs’ attorney Sharon O’Grady.
The action came after Toni Kay violated the policy last year by donning socks with the Tigger cartoon character on them, along with a denim skirt and a brown shirt with pink border. She was sent to an in-school suspension program called Students With Attitude Problems, according to the lawsuit.
“We should be able to show everyone who we are and have a way to express ourselves, as long as we aren’t showing off things that shouldn’t be shown off at school,” Toni Kay said in a statement.
The lawsuit says the girl’s younger sister also was cited for wearing a shirt with a pro-Christian message that said “Jesus Freak.”
A telephone message left yesterday at Redwood Middle School was not returned in time for this story.