ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Jim Ned CISD is at the center of two petitions started because a 4th grade boy wants to wear earrings at school.

Ashleigh Outlaw started a petition on Change.org Monday after her son was asked to remove his new earring studs because they are against the dress code for male students to wear.

She says there wouldn’t have been an issue if her daughter wore earrings to school, and she thinks the rule is unnecessary.

“Sign the petition so we can leave these ideals and judgments in the past and show our children a better way to be an individual and accept each other’s differences and celebrate them, like we always should have,” Outlaw says.

Commenters on Outlaw’s petition agree, saying things like “dress code rules should be genderless” and “kids should be able to express themselves.”

One day after Outlaw began circulating her petition, community member Cody Cox started a counter petition aimed at getting Jim Ned CISD to uphold the current dress code.

Cox calls Jim Ned CISD a “conservative school system” and says that education and maintaining decorum are of the utmost concern.

“In creating the environment that has become an insane draw for families from surrounding school districts as well as those out of the area and out of state, many tried and true rules and regulations have been put into practice,” Cox explains.

Several supporters of that petition laud Jim Ned’s “conservative values” and say they don’t want to see that change.

Supporter Kristen Freeman says, “we moved here for the school district. We wanted our boys to go to a school that up holds true conservative values. And JN is just that. Let’s keep it that way.”

Jim Ned CISD released the following statement in response to both petitions:

As many of you know, in the Jim Ned CISD we have a proper order and process for working through any concerns that a parent, student, or staff member may have with the district. While we do our best to remain aware of concerns expressed on social media, our district does not respond to or solve our problems through social media. Instead, we prefer to handle our concerns face-to-face. We like for that process to begin informally with a conversation in-person or by phone.  

Many of you are aware of a couple of recent petitions and several social media comments regarding our Jim Ned CISD Dress Code. Some comments from Jim Ned parents speak to a few concerns with the Dress Code, but there is also significant support for the Dress Code as it currently stands for the 2021-22 school year. For everyone’s awareness, at the time this notification was written no one has contacted the District to discuss any concerns associated with the recent petitions or social media posts.  

We want to emphasize to all of our families that we take feedback from our parents, students, and staff seriously as it is received throughout the school year regarding our Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook, which is where our Dress Code resides. In the spring of each school year, the administration considers all feedback throughout the year and then provides that same feedback to the Board of Trustees. For example, this past year the administration and board discussed Dress Code related information in the March board meeting. Recommendations regarding any changes are presented to the Board for consideration at that time. If the Board deems revisions necessary, the Board will direct administration at that time to make the necessary changes which is then reflected in the following school year’s Student Code of Conduct and/or Student Handbook.  

We greatly appreciate all of our Jim Ned community and we realize that we will not always agree on every item in the Dress Code. While we work to find common ground on these issues, just know that we have to draw a reasonable line somewhere. And our community can trust that the right people are in place to make those reasonable decisions. You can also trust that your feedback is considered respectfully on an annual basis by the district’s leadership.

Thank you for your continued support of our wonderful Jim Ned community. Roll Tribe! 

Glen Teal