Sampson Independent

SCS officials to finalize new dress code

After reviewing an outdated dress code, leaders from Sampson County Schools are ready to move forward with a policy more suitable with the times.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.

Dr. Eric Bracy, superintendent of Sampson County Schools, speaks to Kim Schmidlin about school matters during a meeting. Eric Bracy, superintendent of Sampson County Schools, speaks to Kim Schmidlin about school matters during a meeting.

By Chase Jordan

Proposed SCS Policy for Student Dress Code

• Clothing must be age appropriate, must not be disruptive to the teaching-learning environment, and cannot be provocative, revealing, indecent, vulgar, or obscene.

• Skirts, skorts and dresses must be no higher than 3 inches above the top of the knee, and any slits in dresses and skirts must also adhere to this three inch rule.

• Shorts must be no higher than 4 inches above the top of the knee.

• Dresses, shirts and blouses must cover 2 inches across the top of the shoulder. Spaghetti straps, strapless tops/halters and plunging necklines are not allowed and the torso and cleavage must be covered at all times.

• No sagging pants are allowed, meaning all pants must be worn with the waistband no lower than the hipbones.

• Clothing will not be allowed which promotes alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or the use of control led substances, depicts violence, or is of a sexual nature.

• Hats, caps, visors, bandanas and sunglasses are not to be worn inside the school building. Staff members will confiscate unauthorized items.

• Clothing is not to be sheer or see- through where the torso is revealed. At no time are undergarments to be visible.

• Proper footwear is required at all times which is safe and does not result in a substantial disruption to the academic integrity of the school day. Shoes that have laces must fit, be laced and tied.

• Pajamas and bedroom shoes/slippers may not be worn.

• Leggings or yoga pants must be worn with a top that reaches mid-thigh.

• Clothing and/or jewelry commonly recognized as being related to a group or gang, which provokes others to act violently or be intimidated by fear of violence, shall not be worn.

• Clothing must be worn appropriately (belts must be buckled and worn at the hipbones).

• Heavy, large jewelry, belt buckles and/or accessories (wallet chains) that are threatening, dangerous, distractive, disruptive or could be utilized as a weapon may not be worn.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.