In addition to intrinsic personality traits and extrinsic academic achievements, children also may express their individuality and need for autonomy through their clothing choices and personal presentation. Especially in middle school, students frequently experiment with fashion and begin to develop a personal style. It can be challenging to develop a school dress code that simultaneously provides sufficient latitude for such expression while maintaining a positive, safe, distraction-free learning environment where education can flourish.
Dress codes generally are instituted for safety reasons (sadly, in many settings these include the reduction of gang-related activity). Such policies also are adopted to prevent or reduce conflict and stress related to peer pressure, socioeconomic status, and the power and influence of the media and technology. The focus in school should be on learning rather than appearance.
The spirit of our dress code is simple: students should come to school well groomed, neatly dressed, and ready to learn. Any clothing or accessory that may be unsafe to the wearer or those around him or her, or that potentially hijacks attention away from instruction and toward the student, may not be worn to school. Any attire that is sexually suggestive, too tight, too exposing, or too sheer is unacceptable. Undergarments must not be visible. Any clothing, jewelry, accessory, notebook, trademark, or any other identifying characteristic that defames, degrades, or offends a culture, religion, or gender will not be tolerated on campus. Articles promoting the use of drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes or containing messages of profanity, hatred, violence, or sexual overtones are not permitted.
Some clothing styles are often seen as gang apparel and may put the wearer at risk and thus are prohibited. Examples include items with “Raiders” logos, chain jewelry, or “dog collars”. Any accessory that can be used as a weapon (studded jewelry, wallet chains, spikes, safety pins, clothespins, etc.) and cause injury or harm to self or others are banned from the campus. Hats may be worn but must face forward to avoid any intentional or unintentional gang affiliation.
Individual clothing preferences will be respected subject to these distraction- and safety-informed guidelines:
- All shirts and blouses must be long enough to cover the navel when the student raises his or her hand in class.
- Tops cannot be see-through, back-less, side-less, worn off the shoulder, or low cut so as to reveal cleavage. However, sheer or lace shirts are acceptable when worn over a tank/t-shirt.
- Tank tops with 1-inch straps are allowed for both girls and boys.
- Spaghetti strap tank tops are acceptable so long as they are worn under another shirt. They are not to be worn as the only shirt, even if covered by a cardigan-type sweater.
- Pants that slide down below the waistline or hang below the shoes are considered a safety hazard and are not permitted.
- Hem lines of all skirts and shorts need to reach at least mid-thigh. Bike-like shorts must be worn under skirts.
- Jeans and shorts with holes above the mid-thigh are not permitted.
- Shoes must be appropriate for students to participate in normal recess and P.E. activities.
- Heels of any kind, wedge shoes, heelys, and all shoes with wheels pose safety risks and are forbidden.
- Elementary students must wear closed toed shoes with a back strap.
- Middle school students may wear open-toed shoes with back straps.
- The wearing of jewelry is acceptable but must be kept to a minimum.
- Long, dangling, or hooped earrings, anklets, large jewelry, chains attached to clothing, and body piercing pose safety concerns and are not permitted.
Dress code infractions can interrupt instruction time for the teacher, the student, and the class. If a student is referred to the office for such an infraction, time lost from class is unexcused. The dress code is in effect as long as the student is on campus and any day school is in session. Adherence to dress code will be monitored by all campus staff, which holds decision authority in the case of questionable attire.
In the event of infractions, elementary students will be counseled by administration and/or asked to change into clothes from the health office. If students at the elementary level continue to break dress code a parent conference will be scheduled with administration. At the middle school level one or more of the following consequences may be imposed:
- Warning from administration and change of attire (typically, into school-issued P.E. clothes)
- Sent home to change, or parents called to bring more appropriate clothing to their children
- Assignment of detention; repeated violations may result in progressively increasing detention, Saturday school, or suspension
- Accessories may be confiscated
For a dress code to be effective, parents and students must attend to students’ clothing before she or he leaves for school in the morning. As such, we expect and appreciate your cooperation in this regard.