Students Protesting District’s Dress Code in Shamokin Area

COAL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Outside Shamokin Area Junior/Senior High School, a group of students stood in protest.

Many wore jeans or pants with rips and tears, all of which are against the district dress code.

"I think we should fight for what we don't want because it's kind of sickening how they take us away from our education to go sit in this room all day,” said student Chelsea Poplaskie.

Some said they are disciplined often for dress code violations, made to sit in a room separate from other students.

"For the last two weeks since we started school, I've been dress coded almost every day since,” said student Jasmine Kleman.

School officials in the Shamokin Area School District say there have been more dress code violations and so they created a video about the policy.

That 54-second video created controversy. Some say it targeted female students by banning tight-fitting clothing or pants and jegging material.

The district's policy also bans baggy clothes and spandex. No vulgar writing is allowed on clothing either.

"We're getting sick of getting shamed for our body shape and form. Boys are dressed like the jogger khakis and nothing happens. They're baggy all the way to their boxers. If we wear form-fitting or too baggy of clothes, they yell at us and dress code us,” said Brianna Pancher.

"Some people can't afford clothes. My aunt can't afford them that much. I sometimes have to wash my clothes every day just to wear them. I'm taking part in the protests so I can wear my regular clothes,” said student Jordyn Smith-Stephens.

Protesters we spoke with say they will continue to protest all this week, hoping their voices will be heard.

Shamokin Area School District officials tell Newswatch 16 they invited the protesters inside to talk about their concerns. They also say the dress code has been in effect for years and no changes were made this year.


  • Don Shaw

    Oh come on educators ripped jeans are in and a little knee isn’t going to mess up the world. Good grief. What’s the problem with baggy?

  • Karen Lance

    my daughter has been wearing uniforms for the past 3 years ,no compaints here,id rather see them in uniforms ….so they need to just suck it up

  • Robert OMalley

    If you’ve been dress coded for every day for two weeks, you’re right. That is ridiculous. You should have been expelled after the second offense.

  • Rusty Knyffe

    GROW UP, children! This is what “Life” is about – accepting boundaries. There was once a time when girls were not allowed to wear slacks to school and boys were required to wear ties. In those days, it seemed that as rebellious as everyone was, they still understood what DIGNITY meant. Today? What a hot, steaming mess our youth is.

    Go to any public school, today, and the boys are dressed like thugs and gang members, and the parents allow their daughters to walk out of the house looking like two-dollar hookers. UGH………

  • jsrant

    So you don’t like the rules so you protest. Very mature, just like teachers when they don’t get what they want. Well they are teaching you well. When you get out in the real world rules will still apply to you so you better start dealing with them, like them or not. You want to be treated like an adult start acting like one. Express your self on your time, not school time.

    • JC

      The ability to protest something you disagree with is something that should be celebrated instead of discouraged. Even if the students are wrong at least they are making an effort to have their voices heard. Yes there are rules in life, but it doesn’t mean the people making the rules have considered viewpoints outside their own. Let the students protest. It doesn’t mean they are going to stop the dress codes from being enacted, but guess what, because of the protester who brought it to our attention that her aunt can’t afford to buy her clothes, we are aware of the socioeconomic factors that may affect one’s ability to acquire appropriate clothing. Maybe this helps the school to think of the problem in a different way, and enact a uniform policy instead, maybe going as far as making the uniforms free or lower cost to kids from poor families. Same thing with teachers protesting. If they didn’t protest, we would have no idea that there are people who have 44 credits beyond a Master’s degree making so low a wage they are working part time at another job after school to supplement their incomes, and then spending part of their paychecks on materials for their classrooms to benefit other people’s kids at the sacrifice of time with their own.

      • Rusty Knyffe

        Citizens absolutely have the right to protest anything that they wish. But, it has gotten out of hand. Children are “protesting” a dress code? What a waste of time. What children need to learn is that they have decades during which they will (hopefully) develop some wisdom and common sense. A dress code cannot be compared to a Viet Nam draft, by any stretch of the imagination.

        Kids need to learn to pick and choose their battles by setting aside the “all about me” mentality, and learn to CONTEMPLATE before they run around screeching for petty privileges.

  • Buford T. Justice

    All 5 of them protesting…hmm. Sorry, but I’ve seen the way some kids go to school and it’s ridiculous. They look like they’re ready to go to the club…

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