School Board Reviews Suggested Dress Code Changes

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poloBy Terry Rogers

On Monday, December 21, Milford School District Superintendent, Dr. Phyllis Kohel, presented suggested dress code changes to the Board of Education for their review. The suggested changes were the result of Dress Code Committee meetings held over the past few months. The Dress Code Committee consists of teachers, administrators, students and parents.

“These changes are the ones suggested by the committee,” Dr. Kohel said. “I am presenting them to the board for review prior to the January 2016 board meeting. I may not request that all of these changes be implemented, but there are some that I feel would be helpful for parents, teachers and students.”

Suggestions made by the committee include eliminating the requirement for polo shirts to have between two and four buttons, instead allowing any number of buttons as long as only one is unbuttoned. The committee also suggested that button-down, Oxford-style shirts in a solid color be permitted.

“On game days, the coaches often request players to dress up,” Dr. Kohel explained. “If a young man is wearing a dress shirt and tie, he is technically not in compliance with our dress code.” In addition, the committee suggested that instead of requiring shorts, skirts or dresses to be to the knee or longer, that they dress code be amended to allow such garments to be at arm length to the fingertips. Some parents claim that it is difficult to find knee-length or longer shorts and skirts for teens.

Another suggestion made by the committee is that gray be added as a color permitted for polo shirts. They also felt that adding cotton or corduroy material would make it easier for parents to comply with the dress code. Other changes to the dress code would add clearer descriptions, such as forbidding skinny jeans or stretch pants.

“Another issue we sometimes face is an understanding of what ‘small’ means when it comes to shirt logos,” Dr. Kohel said. “Therefore, the committee suggested changing the wording in the dress code to ‘smaller than a half dollar’ in order to make it more clear when a logo is too large. However, we would allow a school or district emblem of any size on an approved garment.”

One change that has been implemented by the board already is allowing students to wear crewneck sweatshirts or hoodless polar-fleece jackets with a zipper. At the November meeting, the board agreed to temporarily amend the dress code to allow such clothing due to temperature fluctuations in the schools. The committee also requested that zippered sweaters be added to the approved clothing list.

The committee also suggested that the section in the dress code eliminating scarves should be removed in order to allow students to wear fashionable scarves and jewelry.

“Neither the board nor I want to change the dress code so drastically that we are starting back at square one,” Dr. Kohel explained. “The dress code remains to be a positive change that the teachers, most parents and a large number of students are happy with. I believe that simple changes like allowing five buttons instead of three or four on the polo shirt, or adding the color gray to the approved colors, will be things that the board may consider.”

The changes to the dress code will be discussed at the next school board meeting, scheduled for January 19, 2016. All meetings are open to the public.