Westwood High students say they were stopped from taking state tests due to dress code

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Westwood High School students are upset over a controversy they said is keeping them from giving a state test their full attention.

Students study and prepare all year for the state tests, but on Wednesday some students said they couldn’t even stick around to see if their hard work would pay off because they were suspended for violating the school’s dress code.

“If the school has rules and regulations that is what they need to follow,” said Curtis Jackson, who lives near the school.

Jackson lives a street over from the school. He said he thinks the dress code problems start with parents and doesn’t see why it’s test-takers who are being punished.

“At the end of the day the parents have to step up,” Jackson said.

He said if parents knew about the test, then they should’ve made sure students weren’t bending any rules, especially on such an important academic day.

“They might need to just give them a warning and let them go ahead and take their test,” Jackson said.

The calls started rolling into the WREG newsroom Wednesday morning with student after student claiming their principal suspended them and stopped them from testing because of their wardrobe choice.

Jackson doesn’t agree with that call at all.

“They need to take the test,” he said.

Jackson said students should obey the school’s rules, but sending them home isn’t the right answer either. He said sacrificing a student’s success over a dress code violation seems small in the grand scheme of their overall mission of putting them in position to succeed.

On Thursday Shelby County Schools released a statement saying, “Westood High School complies with SCS’s requirement for a standardized dress code. However, students who meet predetermined school goals are given incentives to be excluded from the standardized dress code.”

“Wednesday, 12 students were issued overnight suspensions for noncompliance with the uniforms policy. Overnight suspensions are also known as mandatory parent conferences, which require parents to meet with an administrator on the next business day. The administrative clerk inadvertently issued an out-of-school suspension for one of these students when the administrator’s intent was to assign an overnight suspension. The student returned today and the principal met with the parents to address the miscommunication, as well as miscoding of discipline.”

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