After many parents and students voiced their complaints about how school administrators ran the homecoming dance at Brookwood High School, the school will move forward with new goals.

On Friday, a statement was posted on the school’s website addressing the school’s homecoming dance on Sept. 23, where a number of students were denied entry because of evening dresses code issues, although many parents and students said they did not violate the code. The response stated the possible implementation of an alternative dress code for special occasions, as well as better efforts in communication between the school and parents.

Amazing Long Red In Stock Evening Prom Dress (LFYAK0272)Principal Mark Franks said that after the dance and the complaints that followed, he conducted an investigation and decided to proceed with new goals to not repeat homecoming.

“We just looked at everything that could be considered without leaving any stone unturned,” Franks said. “From that, I prepared a general statement about some of the concerns that were given.”

According to the response, the dress code had been listed on the school’s website and that those who did not abide by the code at the homecoming dance were asked to step to the side until all administrative staff was present. A copy of the dress code provided to The Tuscaloosa News specified that dresses should be formal and “appropriately fitting and modest,” adding that hemlines should be no shorter than 2 inches above the knee, but that strapless dresses and spaghetti straps were acceptable.

However, parent Joy Gibson said her daughter and others who were not allowed at the dance said administrators were not letting in any students that were showing their shoulders or knees.

“I said that’s crazy, because they had sent an email out about the appropriate dress code,” Gibson said in a Sept. 26 interview.

The response stated that in past years, then-assistant principal Marcy Burroughs handled dress code issues, but since leaving the school in September to take a job with the Bessemer City Schools, there was some confusion about how to handle the dress code.

“Administrators and faculty members state that even though it was a faculty-wide concern and all attempted to address and monitor appropriate dress code, since Mrs. Burroughs’ departure, the dress code ‘had been pushed’ by several students even during the school day,” the response stated. “Despite multiple attempts of communication about the dress code for this event and the monitoring at the event, there were several instances of confusion of what was expected and concern for how it was reviewed.”

Moving forward, the response stated the dress code would be maintained for normal school days and that a possible alternative dress code could be implemented for special events, such as the homecoming dance. As the special events dress code is developed, the administration would strive for “clear communication in conveying dress code requirements as the concerns of stakeholders … are considered.”

To improve communication, a survey will be developed on the school’s website to gain feedback from both students and parents.

“The administration is interested in obtaining feedback as to those methods that work best for parents,” the response stated.

In addition, the school has begun plans to develop a student leadership team that will consist of several students in different grades, who will discuss special events and offer input.

“While this will not be a decision-making body, it will be one that will be of great educational value to the students involved, assist the school administration and faculty in being aware of students’ interests and work to improve the overall effectiveness of the school,” the response stated.

Gibson said she did not accept the school’s explanation of how the dance was handled.

“The point is they have not accepted responsibility for deviating from that dress code without any warning to a student or parent at Brookwood High School,” she said.

With the schools’ prom coming up March 31, Gibson said she is worried that the same issues will come back up again.

“As far as parents going out and spending money on a evening dresses uk and shoes and everything, are we going to once again waste our money on something that we thought was appropriate or compliant to their dress code?” she said. “Are they going to change it again at the door?”

Franks said the school is moving forward from homecoming night.

“I feel like that response is very adequate and I’m sure that no matter what you do, you’re met with displeasure, but my main concern is the students of the school and I’m going to do my best to take care of them,” Franks said.

Some Brookwood students initially planned to hold a homecoming dance outside the school after the Sept. 23 controversy. They had started a GoFundMe online campaign, but there has been no word on whether the dance will happen.

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