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HomeNewsLocalWest
Published: Wednesday, 4/19/2006

Officials looking at dress code changes

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Students in Springfield Local Schools might have to leave their hooded sweatshirts at home when they head to classes this fall.

A proposed dress code, under review by school officials, would ban hooded sweatshirts as well as clothing with any writing, pictures, or embellishments on it. Logos no bigger than a quarter would be permitted.

Changes to the dress code were drawn up by a committee of students, parents, teachers, and administrators that has been meeting since January. The fourth and final draft of the revisions has been presented to parents clubs in the district as well as to the school board for discussion, said Superintendent Cynthia Beekley.

So far, response has run the gamut from embracing the new policy to opposing it.

Some parents say that the district should require school uniforms.

It s an interesting challenge, the superintendent said. It s a challenge to make everyone happy.

School board members could decide whether to adopt the revisions during their April 26 meeting.

The dress code committee was formed in part because of safety concerns as well as a genuine concern for maintaining a positive climate in school during the school day, the superintendent said.

In the last year an increasing number of students have come to school with electronic devices, everything from iPods to cell phones. It s not known, the superintendent said, what kind of information students are passing along when they secretly send text messages.

Another factor: some leaders in the business community have remarked that many young people fail to dress appropriately on the job.

We have a duty and responsibility to prepare kids for the world of work, and for dress expectations in the world of work, the superintendent said. During the school board s meeting last week, a parent mentioned that businesses are struggling with dress codes.

Some students support the proposed revisions, saying that they feel more in tune with school and pay closer attention to their studies, when they are dressed appropriately.

During the meeting, a number of parents indicated that the dress code for the elementary schools should be treated differently from the middle and high schools, said board member Keiran Menacher. Further discussions are expected about that concern.

Some dress code revisions were made as a result of concerns about offensive and inappropriate words on T-shirts and other clothing, said Heather Burns, who served on the dress code committee.

The committee, she said, recommends a ban on any script or writing on clothing except on designated spirit days, when Springfield spirit gear could be worn.

Under the proposed dress code guidelines, all clothing must fit neatly and be clean; tops and bottoms of clothing must overlap at all times, including when arms are raised overhead and when seated; pants, shorts, capris, or skorts must be plain or a solid color, and shirts and tops can be solid, stripe, plaid or print, but must have sleeves.

Students can heave a sigh of relief: blue jeans would be allowed. However, the jeans must be in good condition, not fashionable condition with holes or thread-bare material.

Some might consider the changes controversial, particularly because hooded sweatshirts are fashionable items now, Mrs. Burns said, but she said the revisions are needed to address safety concerns and other issues.

After some parents at the meeting learned about safety issues, and the issues with iPods and cell phones, they said that they would abide with whatever decision the school board made, Mrs. Menacher said. That was encouraging.

Revisions in the dress code would need to be made by mid-May in order to be included in the 2006-2007 school year policy book. That would give parents plenty of time to shop for appropriate clothing, the superintendent said.



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