In an attempt to modernize and clear up ambiguities in the student dress code, three high school students presented proposed changes to the Washington County Board of Education’s Policy Committee on Thursday.
Some of the proposed dress code changes would put into policy types of clothing or shoewear students are already wearing to school, students said.
The proposed revisions were devised by about 65 middle and high school students during Washington County Association of Student Councils meetings last November, said Amanda Krehbiel, the school board’s student representative. Krehbiel was accompanied by Michaela Brewer, the association’s president, and Kelsey Kidwell, secretary for Williamsport High’s Student Government Association.
One of the issues the students addressed was the policy regarding the length of shorts, skirts and dresses.
The current policy states those items must “cover the mid-thigh when sitting down, or be at least long enough to meet the tip of the student’s longest finger when the student is standing with arms down at the
The proposed change was to have those clothing items cover to the mid-thigh when a student is standing and that all undergarments must be covered.
Discussion between committee members and students led to a proposed compromise of having skirts cover to mid-thigh when a student is sitting and having shorts cover to mid-thigh when a student is standing.
Another item addressed was tank top style shirts.
The current policy requires students to wear a shirt over or under a tank top, which is considered an undergarment.
The students’ proposal included a more detailed description of a tank top, and didn’t require it to be worn over or under another shirt. Their description included a top that covered the back and cleavage, and has shoulder straps at least 3 inches wide.
Other proposed changes were to permit:
- Head coverings for a religious purpose or medical reason. Committee members suggested the former be permitted for students with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
- The type of headband, used to hold hair in place, that is a bandana folded as a headband.
- Yoga pants with completely opaque material. Committee members expressed concern about yoga pants that were too tight.
- Leggings, when worn in conjunction with another appropriate outfit.
- Light, form-fitting jackets such as Windbreakers. The current code does not permit “outerwear such as coats or heavy jackets” to be worn during the school day.
Students also wanted a statement that “flip-flop type sandals” were acceptable, but school system officials had concerns about how securely such shoes fit.
The students were asked to have the SGA review the descriptions and bring them back to the Policy Committee, as early as March 12, the tentative date for the next committee meeting, Committee Chairwoman Jacqueline Fischer said.
The school board would need to approve any changes to the dress code policy, with both a first and second reading, Fischer said.