Homework: Study New Dress Code
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Starting this year, St. Mary's County students won't be wearing beer T-shirts, spaghetti-strap tank tops, pajama pants or jewelry that could be used as a weapon -- at least not to school.
For the most part, schools have had dress codes prohibiting students from wearing such items. But now, officials are enforcing a systemwide standard.
"We've always had broad guidelines," said Kathleen Lyon, executive director of the Department of Student Services. But officials decided to change the policy "so that parents have more consistent information," she said.
Lyon said that there is a connection between student dress and behavior and that the new policy will help make the learning environment safer and free of distractions. A dress code tells children they are at school to learn, not see the latest fashions, she said.
Other clothing rules pertain to safety, she said. Elementary students are required to wear shoes that fasten behind the ankle to prevent falls. Students are not allowed to wear accessories that could harm others, such as leather bracelets with large spikes or studs.
The dress code will also apply to school dances and mixers.
Before the St. Mary's Board of Education and superintendent approved the new rules, they were vetted by teachers, parents, staff members and two students from each secondary school. In some cases, students were "more stringent" than adults, Lyon said.
Other rules in the new dress code:
· No clothing featuring or suggesting profanity, graphic images, sexual acts or innuendo, drugs, alcohol, violence or tobacco products.
· No clothing or other items with gang or crew connections.