When the School Board approved new dress codes last month, it was supposed to give parents direction for their back-to-school shopping. Instead, it caused confusion for secondary school students and their parents.
At the July 19 board meeting, the board approved shirts with graphics for elementary school students but not for middle school and high school students.
They agreed to amend that at a workshop on Aug. 2. John Fanelli, the district’s coordinator of student supports and behavior, said parents have had questions regarding what is acceptable. Patterns and trademark logos were approved but graphics were not. A lot of patterns are graphics, and a lot of logos contain graphics, Fanelli said.
“So, the removal (of graphics from the dress code), kind of contradicts some of the language allowing patterns or allowing official logos. But we’re not allowing graphics, so we did need some clarification or some direction on that language moving forward,” he said.
With secondary school deans in attendance, the board elected to restore graphics to the secondary school dress code.
“I think that youth and teens know if it's appropriate or it's not appropriate. They know what they're putting on. I really don't have any problem with graphics.”
— CHERYL MASSARO
“I think that youth and teens know if it's appropriate or it's not appropriate. They know what they're putting on,” board member Cheryl Massaro said. “I really don't have any problem with graphics.”
Board member Colleen Conklin said she saw no reason why graphics or graphic patterns shouldn’t be allowed.
“I think we value and trust (that the deans) know what’s appropriate,” Conklin said.
Board members asked if the deans thought that would be doable, and they each gave a thumbs up.
The board is slated to approve the change in a special meeting on Aug. 9.
The board members also agreed on Fanelli’s other question relating to the student code of conduct. But this time they did not want to make a change.
The board had decided to require students to wear their student IDs at all times. Fanelli said many students had pictures of their IDs on their phones and didn’t carry them all the time. The problem, he said, was the harsher penalties built into the new student code of conduct. A second offense could be punished by up to five days of being barred from participating in after-school activities. A third offense could be punished by up to 30 days.
Fanelli said replacement IDs cost $5, but if students lose them multiple times, do you draw the line on how many replacements they can receive?
But the board would not budge on the issue except to suggest that the punishments could be eased.
“ID’s are important for security and safety,” board member Janet McDonald said. “It’s an adult right-of-passage. Any business has IDs. … We need to hold the line.”
Massaro related a situation in which a student was unconscious and did not have a visible ID, and the student’s phone was locked. The student could not be identified.
“That was a huge problem,” Massaro said. “I really think IDs are necessary. However, we may need to lessen the punitive piece on this.”
Board member Jill Woolbright said it’s a matter of expectations.
“I don’t think the kids lose their driver’s licenses,” she said. “It’s setting priorities.”
Woolbright said some high school students look like adults and teachers and administrators who don’t know them wouldn’t know they belong on campus without a visible ID.
“Whatever you put in place, we will enforce,” Fanelli said.