BERWYN, Ill. (CBS) — A protest and suspensions over a dress code at a high school has erupted in west suburban Berwyn.
Students are pushing for a change for what girls can wear. CBS 2’s Steven Graves spoke to the teenager behind the movement.READ MORE: 'An Important Time For Us': Chicagoans Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
When it comes to uncomfortable conversations, high school senior Metzli, is not afraid to start one.
“It was a leadership I’ve never taken before,” Metzli said.
She is leading a movement at Morton West High School in Berwyn over a mandatory pants and skirt color for girls.
“Khaki pants are not very period friendly because women have accidents and it’s very visible and it can be very embarrassing,” she said.
She’s pushed for the darker colored pant option before. No change. She thinks it could lessen the embarrassment. A recent incident with a classmate made her speak louder.
“I couldn’t lend her a sweater to cover up, but I had to take her to the nurse and she had no idea where to go,” she said.
“Being insecure about yourself during your menstrual cycle, it’s difficult. I feel like this happening now shouldn’t be an issue,” said her mother Gia.
The 17-year-old and others showed up in black pants in school to protest the policy. But she said when they put up unapproved posters, students and faculty pushed back.
“I was getting so much backlash over something that was supposed to be positive,” she said.READ MORE: Downtown Chicago Roadblocks Quell Mexican Independence Day Street Celebrations
She admits and regrets what she calls lashing at staff. It landed her and he boyfriend suspensions for insubordination.
Morton District 201 said in a statement it is open to hearing students, reiterating no one was suspended for protesting.
“There are two sides to every story.”
Ashley Novoa with the Chicago Period project heard about the incident and spoke with students at a recent school board meeting. She’s seen another charter school in the area change its policies over the same issue.
“No, it’s quite common, and that’s why I was shocked,” Novoa said.
While the School board could not answer direct questions, those who attended do say they felt heard. They will attend another meeting until they feel as though their request is addressed.
CBS 2 received a statement from Tim Truesdale, District 201 Superintendent:
The District is always willing to discuss students’ concerns and identify solutions. Last week we met with a student advocating a change in our uniform policy and her parent. At that meeting, all parties agreed to have further discussions.
At Morton District 201, we must evaluate any potentially significant changes to our policies to ensure they are beneficial and feasible for all of our students.
We do not comment publicly on individual student discipline matters. However, no students have been suspended for protesting.MORE NEWS: 'We're Back': Store Owner Reopens Chicago Sports On Michigan Avenue After 2020 Unrest