After reviewing an outdated dress code, leaders from Sampson County Schools are ready to move forward with a policy more suitable with the times.
During a Tuesday work session for the Board of Education, Dr. Wesley Johnson, an assistant superintendent for Sampson County Schools, presented a revised policy. During a July meeting, vice-chair Kim Schmidlin brought the board attention to rules regarding skirt lengths and fashion related to shoulders. To make changes, a committee consisting of six principals — two from elementary, middle school and high school grade levels — along with two board members and district leaders met to update the dress code.
During the meeting on Aug. 7, the committee raised concerns about the inconsistency of monitoring the policy and students being sent home, while others are not for the same offense. There was a consensus that instructional time for students is protected and that students are not sent home for unnecessary reasons.
Board member Pat Usher emphasized the importance of teachers addressing appropriately and following rules too. He questioned if there was a employee dress code being followed as well.
“On the dress code, I’ve had a comment from a parent or two over the years and they feel like some of the stuff (students) aren’t allowed to wear, sometimes teachers will,” Usher said.
One example he mentioned was leggings, which are now allowed. A line in the new policy says that leggings or yoga pants must be worn with a top that reaches mid-thigh. Schmidlin said the committee felt like the current policy didn’t reflect current trends and fashions.
“That was one of the issue,” Schmidlin said. “Teachers and students were wearing leggings and we felt like (the dress code) needed to allow that and provide some guidance on what’s appropriate and inappropriate. I think it’s generally understand that parents follow the guidelines.”
Chair Tim Register feels that there are times when teachers dress inappropriately.
“There’s no question about that and it’s the same way when a student dresses inappropriately and they get to the last period of the day before a teacher sends them to the office for it because no one else enforced it,” Register said.
Register added that if there’s an issue at schools, it needs to addressed by Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. According to the policy administration, teachers and staff members have the right to determine the appropriateness of attire.
The policy also says that “a student who is not in compliance with this policy will change clothes using available clothes at school or call his or her parents to bring a change of clothes. If neither of those options is available, the student shall spend the remainder of the day in In-School Suspension. The principal or designee must send the student’s parents written notification of the dress code violation. The consequences for subsequent violations of the dress code will be addressed in accordance with regulations developed by the superintendent.”
The board is scheduled to make a final decision on the new policy during its next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, at the board room, 437 Rowan Road, Clinton.