Student activism leads to new flexible dress code policy

September 29, 2022

According to the new student dress code, which was approved in August of 2022, language that was unnecessarily strict upon student wear was omitted from JICA-R policy. Across many months prior to this change, student’s complained across the district that the, then modern dress code called for inappropriate language that left undertones of misogyny and racial discrimination.

 

Old Policy

STUDENT DRESS CODE (POLICY JICA)

Richland School District Two students are expected to dress, be groomed, and otherwise conduct themselves in such a way as to not distract or cause disruption in the educational program or orderly operation of the school. Personal appearance and conduct of students should promote health and safety, contribute to a climate conducive to teaching and learning and project a positive image of the district to the community. School administrators will be responsible for determining violations of this policy. The principal reserves the right to amend any provisions that he/she deems to be in the best interest of the student or the educational process. The Board will review the policy for any changes needed on a periodic basis. The administration will make the final judgment on the appropriateness of a student’s clothing, appearance and/ or display of symbols, messages or statements on school grounds. Administration reserves the right to prohibit students from wearing any articles of clothing or other items or displaying any symbols, messages or statements that lead to, or may possibly result in, the disruption of or interference with the school environment.

Clothing articles, hair, and/or other displays should not be so extreme or inappropriate to the school setting as to disrupt the educational process. Therefore, any items deemed distracting, revealing, overly suggestive or that could pose a safety threat to one’s self or others is not allowed. This includes heavy chains not made as jewelry, fish-hooks, multiple-finger rings (rings welded together resembling brass knuckles or rings that can be used as a weapon), studded bracelets or collars, nose/lip to ear chains, etc. Unusual body piercing that is disruptive to the order of the school or is a distraction to the learning environment will not be allowed. Attire, articles, and other items must not display or evidence membership or affiliation with a “gang” in any negative sense of the term. In determining whether or not a student is in violation of the prohibition on the wearing/display of a gang-related item, the district will maintain, in all of its school offices, an example of potential gang indicators including symbols, hand signals, graffiti and clothing/ accessories (as stated in Policy JICF — Secret Societies/ Gang Activity). Bandanas and do-rags are not allowed on campus and will be confiscated and discarded. Picks and combs are not allowed in hair. Hair items such as plastic headbands, barrettes and ribbons are permitted. Students are not allowed to wear hats or other headgear in school buildings (including portables). These items may be confiscated. Religious headgear is allowed. School administrators will not be held liable for confiscated items. Clothing, articles or other items that display advertisements for, or messages or pictures depicting or suggesting, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, weapons, or sex are prohibited. Clothing, articles, or other items that display symbols, messages or statements which would distract others, interfere with the instructional programs, or otherwise cause disruption, are prohibited. Attire must not be immodest, obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, or indecent. Lower garments should be of fingertip length to assure modesty when the student is seated or engaged in school activities. Pants must be worn at the natural waistline and undergarments are not to be visible. If they do not fit properly, a belt must be worn to keep them in place. Sleeveless attire cannot reveal undergarments. Shirts cannot be tight, low cut or show cleavage. Shirts should be loose fitting and fully cover the upper body. Halter-tops and shirts with spaghetti straps will not be allowed. Clothing must cover the waist and back with no skin showing between the top garment and bottom garment. No transparent or mesh clothing without an appropriate shirt underneath.No clothing that is excessively form fitting (i.e., spandex). Leggings, yoga pants or bottoms that are form fitting must have a top garment of fingertip length.

 

ENFORCEMENT 

Students may not continue to attend class wearing inappropriate clothing, articles, or display of items as defined in this policy. Neither parents/legal guardians nor students will place the burden of enforcing this policy solely on the school. Parents/legal guardians and students are expected to comply to ensure that a comfortable, safe and non-confrontational environment is provided for all students. Administrators and faculty members are expected to strictly enforce the dress code policy at all times.

Violations of this policy will result in the following:

In the event the administration determines a student’s dress, articles, or display of items is inappropriate for school in accordance with this policy, the administration will require the student to remove the articles or items, turn inappropriate clothing inside out, or change inappropriate clothing and make alternate clothing available for the student to wear. If, upon request, the student refuses to follow the directive of the administration in accordance with this policy, the student will be sent to ISD and the parent/legal guardian will be contacted. Repeated violations of this policy will be treated as disruptive behavior in violation of the student code of conduct. However, violations of this policy will not carry over on the student’s discipline record to subsequent years. The school administration will determine the amount of lost instructional time a student must make up due to being out of class for violations of this policy. The instructional time will be made up after school and at the financial expense of the student’s parent/legal guardian for a certified teacher to remain and instruct the student. Failure to do so may result in a student repeating the course(s).

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New policy

Approved JICA-R Policy:

Students must wear:

● Tops (shirt, blouse, sweater, sweatshirt, tank, etc.); with fabric in the front, back and on the sides under the arms; and

● Bottoms (pants, shorts, skirt, dress, etc.) and

● Footwear.

Students must not wear attire that: 

● Is pornographic, contains threats or that promotes illegal or violent conduct;

● Demonstrates hate group association/affiliation and/or uses hate speech targeting groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation or other protected groups;

● Shows private parts (nipples, genitals, buttocks). Private parts must be covered by clothing that is opaque (not able to be seen through);

● Shows skin on the student’s abdomen;

● Covers the student’s face to the extent that the student is not identifiable (except that worn for religious purposes) or covers the student to the point that they cannot be identified from the front or the back (ski masks, etc.);

● Demonstrates gang association or affiliation;

● May be used as a weapon;

● Reveals visible undergarments, except waistbands and visible straps are allowed; or

● Swimsuits, except as required for class or athletic practice or meet.

Enforcement: 

Students shall not be disciplined or removed from class as a consequence for wearing attire in violation of this policy unless the attire creates a substantial disruption to the educational environment or poses a hazard to the health and safety of the wearer or others. 

Students, at the discretion of the principal or her designee, may be asked to briefly leave the classroom to change clothes or to cover or remove attire that does not comply with Policy JICA or this administrative rule. 

Students shall not be referred to as “a distraction” based on their appearance or attire. 

All staff will use reasonable efforts to avoid speaking to students about their attire in the presence of other students, staff or other adults unrelated to the student. Discussions with students about violations of the Student Attire policy or this Administrative Rule should be done in a manner that does not cause embarrassment to the student. 

Principals are required to ensure that all staff are aware of and understand the guidelines of this Administrative Rule.

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