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School board re-addresses dress codes

By Staff | Jun 22, 2010

Members of the Lee County School Board were briefed Tuesday afternoon on changes to the student code of conduct.
Proposed changes to the district’s code of conduct are designed to clarify older rules and update policies to deal with more contemporary school issues. Each year there are changes made to the code and the school board is expected to vote on the final changes at its next meeting on July 29.
The draft discussed on Tuesday includes a provision that “pants shall not have holes” and that a piercing or adornment is prohibited if it “could cause injury or a safety risk to a student.”
Board members explained that the changes were not only to revise outdated language, but also to provide more flexibility in how administrators treat infractions.
“We have to give a little bit of flexibility,” said Chairman Steve Teuber. “This isn’t about pants, it’s about education.”
Teuber cautioned that some students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are attending school with holes or rips in their pants at no fault of their own. He said he’d rather give administrators the flexibility to decide when a hole in an article of clothing is a disruption.
Many students have been circumventing the district’s baggy pants rule by intentionally pulling their underwear over the waist line. And now the board is updating its code of conduct to deal with this issue. They also are adding a clause stating that pants should not only be worn fastened at the waist, but as “not to expose undergarments.”
“Clothing might be ripped, slit or et cetera, and what we are trying to do is bring some consistency to what we have,” said Superintendent James Browder.
Vice Chairman Elinor Scricca, a former high school principal who said she used to spend hours measuring the length of skirts worn by female students, agreed that more discretion should be given to administrators. She said that any attempt at showing the “cleavage of the posterior” should not be permitted.
Scricca also said that students should be periodically reminded of the rules.
“The student population will, no question, push that envelope,” she said.