Alpine School District updates dress code policy, removes gendered language – Daily Herald

  • October 13, 2022

Evan Cobb, Daily Herald file photo
The Alpine School District Board of Education approved updates to the district’s dress code on Tuesday.
The policy was initially approved in September 1990 and is now being updated for the first time since October 2012. The updated “Dress Standards” do not contain gendered language and encourage school administrators to “apply dress standards consistently to all students.”
“I think, in general, the purpose of our revisions was to make this more consistent between the sexes, that there wasn’t leaning heavy on one or the other,” board member Ada Wilson said.
“We’ve switched a lot of things in the language, a lot of the words are softened,” board member Sarah Beeson said. “I think the one thing that’s good with this policy and that makes it strong is that it’s no longer male or female or focuses on miniskirts or tube tops; it focuses on parts of bodies that can’t be shown. And so that is, I guess, unisex.”
The updated policy requires that each student’s clothing must cover the body from the left to right armpits and from the top of the shoulder down to a few inches above the knee.
According to the dress standards, not following the policy may result in consequences as determined by the school administration up to and including suspension or expulsion.
The updated dress code also focuses less on grooming and hygiene practices. According to board member Julie King, this change is to accommodate members of Alpine’s student population who may be experiencing homelessness and to allow school administrators to deal with hygiene issues on a case-by-case basis.
“I don’t think we need to make a stance about a child’s personal cleanliness in policy,” King said. “I absolutely trust our administrators, our social workers, our counselors, that they are seeing needs in students and meeting those needs. … I just think it’s unnecessary.”
The dress code also now permits students to have cultural and religious objects with them during their graduation ceremonies, such as necklaces or leis, with administrative preapproval obtained at least two weeks before graduation.
“This is a significant movement on the board in that we are extending some guidance for allowing cultural expressions for cultural regalia and objects of religious and cultural significance for those of us in our population who have those symbolic things,” Wilson said. “Those would be with the approval of the principal involved.”
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