To keep up with the times and changing fashion, the Sampson County Board of Education is planning to make updates to the district’s dress code.
During a Tuesday meeting, vice-chair Kim Schmidlin brought up the matter while looking over several policies. She made a suggestion to form a committee of staff and board members to review rules she believes are out of date.
“As fashion changes, I feel that we need to re-address our dress code and make sure it’s appropriate to what is currently fashionable,” she said. “I don’t believe our dress code has been modified in probably eight or more years. It’s been a very long time. I’ve had daughters that came up through it and there’s been no changes.”
Some of the references she brought up included shirts not being below the crotch area and clothing related to shoulders.
“There’s shirts that actually cover the top part of the shoulder, but the outside of the shoulder is out and the upper arm is covered,” she said. “We had issues where there’s been inconsistent application on whether those shirts are appropriate or inappropriate. Our policy says the shoulders must be entirely covered.”
According to a portion of the current policy “Shoulders and the front and back torso must be covered at all time. Sleeveless shirts, tops and dressed that do not cover the top of the shoulder (spaghetti, straps, halter tops, plunging necklines) will not be allowed.” The policy also says that halters are not allowed as inner or outer garments. Off shoulder tops are not allowed too.
Schmidlin believes that most people are comfortable with shoulders being shown, if a majority of other portions, such as the top, are mostly covered. It’s a matter that will be reviewed by the committee.
“I think that’s over application of the policy,” she said. “I don’t believe people intended for that happen. The policy as written is vague and it needs to be clarified.”
Schmidlin said it’s something that’s viewed differently and is not very clear. She added that it’s trendy for people to wear leggings with long shirts, which is not allowed in the current policy. Through the year, Schmidlin said there’s been complaints about the dress code, especially at the start of the school year.
“Their parents are called to bring them clothes and they have to change,” she said. “I get complaints on a routine basis of things right at the beginning of the year. Hopefully, we can get together and make some clarifications to avoid that. We don’t want students to miss instructional time dealing with dress code violations that we can avoid.”
If changes are made, she emphasized the importance of having a policy which can be addressed across the board and something that’s not open to individual interpretation.
“I think that’ll give us more consistency in how we apply the dress code across the district,” Schmidlin said.
Board Chair Tim Register made a suggestion that administrators and principal from each grade level should be on the committee, since it’s going to effect all students. Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy will present recommendations in the future.