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Published: Thursday, 6/14/2007

Dress-code plan spurs complaints

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Maumee school officials got an earful of complaints about a proposed new dress code for all students at last week's board of education meeting.

Some students and parents were especially opposed to the banning of hooded sweatshirts, known as "hoodies," that was recommended by a panel of teachers and administrators.

Aaron Pilcher, a sixth-grader at Gateway Middle School, said he needed his hoodie to keep warm.

"I don't think you should get rid of the sweatshirts," he told the audience in the old Fort Miami Elementary School on Askin Street that's slated for demolition this summer.

His mother, Robin, noted that she had four children in the Maumee City Schools and hoodies were a way to dress them inexpensively.

The proposed dress code would prohibit "head coverings of all types . . . indoors from the beginning until the end of the school day."

Mrs. Pilcher wondered if religious head coverings would be allowed, and said she would sue if special treatment were accorded certain groups.

Another parent, Todd Sharp, weighed in on the side of keeping hoodies legal.

Students aren't supposed to have cell phones in class under current policy. Rachel Cryan, a high school student, said she suspected the real purpose of the proposed hoodie ban was to keep students from texting each other with phones hidden in the pocket of their sweatshirts.

Officials who drew up the proposed dress code defended their recommendations.

Angie Sugg, assistant principal at Gateway Middle School, said hoodies were a potential security issue when they obscured the wearer's identity.

"The biggest issue here is security," she said.

Assistant high school principal Dwight Fertig explained that he had seen a student ignite a trash can but couldn't identify him because his hood was up.

"That student had flammable materials inside a baggy, hooded sweatshirt," Mr. Fertig said.

Other requirements of the proposed dress code:

•Tops and bottoms must overlap at all times, including when arms are raised and when seated.

•Girls' shirts and dresses must have a collar and sleeves. Boys' shirts must have a collar and sleeves.

•Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be no more than three inches above the kneecap.

•All footwear must have soles. This would permit sandals but preclude flipflops. Spiked heels could be no higher than two inches.

•No clothing would be allowed that was obscene or promoted drugs, sex, profanity, or gangs.

•No hooded sweatshirts, jackets, or tops would be allowed.

•Head coverings of all types would not be allowed, including hats, bandannas, do-rags, and sweat bands.

•Low-cut, plunging, or revealing necklines would be prohibited, as well as visible underwear.

•External coats, zipped jackets, and vests would not be allowed.

•Pajamas or lounge pants would be prohibited.

•Torn clothing or clothing with holes would not be allowed.



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