Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan and middle school Principal Jeff Elliot coordinated the survey, and after compromises on all sides, a new dress code has been determined.
The biggest victory for students is the right to wear solid blue jeans (in blue, khaki, black or gray). Other variations of jeans, like acid washed or bright colors, will not be allowed. O’Bryan assured board members the fit of the jeans will be considered as well. The new dress code does not allow for “skinny jeans” (skin-tight fit).
Under the 2012-13 dress code, students will be allowed to wear open-toed shoes. This allows different types of sandals and conforms to the open-toed shoes many teachers wear.
O’Bryan said a main focus was making the new dress code student friendly. Numerous students were asked to participate in the deliberations, which produced a new dress code that is equally male- and female-friendly.
“The dress code has not been revised in 10 years,” O’Bryan said. “I feel like we have a dress code now that is more appropriate for young ladies. The old dress code was more fashioned for males.”
The new dress code allows females to wear solid-colored dresses or skirts as long as they are no more than two inches above the knee. The two-inch guideline is in consideration of students whose height makes it difficult to find bottoms that go down to their knees.
According to the new dress code, “school approved T-shirts which are clearly visible as Cleveland Blue Raider-wear, Cleveland High School, or Cleveland Middle School apparel,” may be worn by students. These shirts may be found at participating businesses in the community. Approved student club shirts, such as Science Club, will also be allowed.
Last year, 1,000 dress code violations by students were recorded. O’Bryan and Elliot are hoping to cut that number in half. The schools plan to have meetings with students about the new dress code at the start of the school year. The principals also plan to use the first day of school as a launching platform for the new dress code.
Suggestions for the launch include the possibility of a fashion show.
Board Chairman Tom Cloud expressed concern about teacher involvement.
“All teachers have got to be together on this,” the chairman said. “There cannot be one teacher who punishes and one who does not.”
O’Bryan assured Cloud that actions would be taken to ensure all teachers are on board.
“That was one of the things the students asked for in the meetings. They wanted teachers to enforce the dress code,” she said.
Both O’Bryan and Elliot were impressed by the maturity the students displayed during the survey and subsequent meetings.
According to O’Bryan, the students were respectful in their responses, and few requested that the dress code be eliminated. Nobody, she assured, took advantage of the anonymity.
“We hope to continue to provide a consistent dress code while allowing the students a voice,” Elliot said.