Mom quotes Bible, wins dress code battle

April 23, 2009 2:54:48 PM PDT
A suburban Dallas second-grader no longer has to tuck in her shirt, thanks to her mom's argument that the school policy violated her religious freedom. Dyker Neyland of Irving had argued the Irving dress code shouldn't apply to her 7-year-old daughter because of her Christian beliefs. The board voted 6-1 in Neyland's favor this week, overturning decisions by the principal and district administrators who had said the child must tuck in her shirt at school.

"I don't want her behind showing," Neyland was quoted in Thursday editions of The Dallas Morning News. "I don't want her body being exposed."

Neyland cited a Bible verse, 1 Timothy 2:9, which requires "women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes."

Before the Monday night vote, Neyland told the board she felt as if she was being persecuted for being a Christian. "There will be a day of reckoning, and you will have to answer to God," she said.

School board president Jerry Christian backed her request, saying the student handbook doesn't specifically mention anything about tucking shirts in. But he said dress codes keep students from looking sloppy at school.

Neyland said another mom who used the same verse to keep her daughter from having to tuck in her shirt at a different elementary helped craft her argument.

Irving school trustee Valerie Jones said there is room for interpretation.

"I'm a Christian," Jones said. "There could be a Christian who believes it might be more modest for their child's shirt to be tucked in than not to be tucked in."

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