The school board is asking for public input before it considers making any changes to the district’s dress code.
“It has been raised as a question, but noo decision has been made to do anything,” school board president Evan Lerner said at Monday’s meeting.
Lerner explained that the topic first came up at a board meeting about two years ago.
“Discussions started and then they were postponed,” he said.
The subject—including the possibility of a staff dress code—has come up several times since then. It was brought up once again at a March 2012 policy committee meeting and again in June, when the board decided it would be better to wait until after the summer break to seek input.
“The chatter around the town is big about the dress code,” parent Marcy Glick said at the meeting. “The overall consensus is everyone would like it to stay the same and be more of a one-on-one specific approach.”
Glick noted that Bridgewater-Raritan High School principal Brett Charleston told her he felt people are generally dressing appropriately.
Glick was the only member of the less than a dozen attendees at Monday’s meeting who addressed the topic.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Schilder informed the board that Charleston is scheduled to attend the next policy committee meeting to report on the feedback he has been receiving.
“He has had a lot of students coming to him about this," Schilder said.
Lerner encouraged interested parents and students to share their views with the board at the Nov. 27 regularly scheduled meeting.
The topic of student dress is addressed in the board’s policy manual, where it indicates, “The basis of judgment for appropriateness of dress shall be neatness, health, cleanliness, modesty and good taste.”
Board policy also states that “each school shall publish guidelines for student dress” and that principals with the help of students, parents and faculty members, “shall formulate guidelines for dress and personal conduct.”
In accordance with board policy, the high school handbook states, “Students will not be permitted to wear clothing that is disrupting, distracting, intimidating or provocative in nature” and that “modesty dictates that clothing which is excessively tight or revealing is not permitted.”
At the middle school level, the handbook addresses issues more specifically. Some of the guidelines include the following:
- Shorts and skirts cannot be any shorter than 5 inches above the knee. Mini-skirts, cutoffs or short-shorts may not be worn.
- Spaghetti straps, halter tops, tube tops and tank tops are not permitted. Straps of shirts must cover all undergarments completely.
- Tops must extend to the waist and meet the waistband of slacks, skirts or shorts. No undergarments should be showing from the waistline of pants, skirts or shorts.
It also prohibits wearing sunglasses in the building (unless prescribed by a doctor), pajamas, head coverings (except for religious purposes), or clothing, accessories or jewelry that could cause damage.
The middle school handbook also stresses that the dress code serves as “a minimum code” and that the principal may institute school rules and regulations considered necessary or appropriate.
What kind of changes would you make to these codes?