Published March 21, 2007
NAPA, Calif. – A seventh-grader might end up in court for wearing Winnie the Pooh socks to school.
Toni Kay Scott, 14, was sent to an in-school suspension program called Students With Attitude Problems last year for violating a dress code, according to a lawsuit against the Napa Valley Unified School District and Redwood Middle School.
She had donned socks with the Tigger character from the Winnie the Pooh cartoons on them, along with a denim skirt and a brown shirt with a pink border.
But the school's policy requires students to wear clothes with solid colors in blue, white, green, yellow, khaki, gray, brown and black. Permitted fabrics are cotton twill, corduroy and chino. No denim is allowed.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Napa County Superior Court by The American Civil Liberties Union and a law firm on the girl's behalf, alleges that the dress code is unconstitutionally vague and too restrictive.
"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," the teenager said in a statement.
The lawsuit 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.
A telephone message left Tuesday at Redwood Middle School was not immediately returned.