IRSD dress code policy gets some updates

Date Published: 
July 8, 2016

The Indian River School District’s new dress code policy is using broader terms and leaving some wiggle room for the beach’s favorite footwear: flip-flops.

Footwear has been a mild cause for consternation among students. For about a decade, flip-flops had been prohibited, due to safety concerns (such as gym class activities, chemistry lab dangers or a sudden evacuation), as had bedroom slippers and improperly fastened shoes.

But, as of June 20, the IRSD Board of Education will allow principals to decide what is appropriate for their own buildings.

“Students will be required at all times to wear shoes or other appropriate footwear,” the policy still states.

But the policy no longer forbids specific shoes. Instead, “Students shall be required to follow dress standards to prevent hazards or dangers in areas such as recess, shop, labs and/or physical education class.”

That “allows each school to deem what is appropriate for the age and class taken,” stated Board Member W. Scott Collins.

“Regulations will be developed according to the level of the school (elementary, middle or high), and that will govern what is and is not allowed to be worn,” stated Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele. “As far as flip-flops, that will be up to the principal group at that level.” That means the beachy shoes could still be forbidden.

The Dress Code Policy JFCA covers students during all in-school activities, music programs, awards ceremonies and banquets.

Previous language got into specifics and, until recently, the Policy Committee had tried to pin down exactly the best way to forbid clothes with holes, and the reasoning behind it, such as promoting safety or avoiding vulgarity.

Now, they’re using broader terms, and they removed the prohibition on wearing coats, jackets or other outerwear in the classrooms.

Shirts still have to meet bottoms. But now, in broader terms, “Students are not permitted to wear clothing that is transparent, exposes the midriff/naval area, cleavage or posterior regions.”

When it comes to shorts, families have had trouble with back-to-school shopping. The old policy required shorts that fall “no more than 2 inches above the top of the kneecap.” That specific measurement has been found to be tricky to maintain in the midst of students’ growth spurts.

The new policy insists that shorts and dresses fall “at or below the mid-thigh area while the student is standing.”

Also, “clothing shall have no holes that expose skin above the kneecap,” referencing the fashion of jeans with holes in the legs.

“The Board of Education recognizes that student individual dress is primarily a parental responsibility,” the policy still states. “When the dress of an individual student constitutes a health problem, seems to be unsuitable for school wear, is a physical danger to any person, or when the student’s manner of dress or grooming could cause a disruption or disturbance, the principal shall take appropriate action to correct the situation.”

The policy still forbids headgear, tank-tops, pants with letters across the buttocks, pants drooping below the intended waistline and offensive or drug-related designs. Leggings, yoga pants and similar form-fitting bottoms are still prohibited, unless they’re treated like tights, worn with a dress or other garment that comes down to the mid-thigh.

Also, school administrators have the power to grant exceptions to the policy for a bona fide reason.

Dress Code Policy JFCA and all other district policies are online at www.irsd.net (Click “Parents and Students, then click “Policy Manual”).