They’re more dress code revisions than uniforms, says CCSD assistant superintendent

Published 10:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2022

Chambers County School District’s new dress code for the 2022-2023 school year has drawn mixed reactions from parents. But according to Assistant Superintendent David Owen, it will offer students plenty of flexibility in what they can wear. For this reason, he said it might be better to say “dress code revisions” instead of “uniforms.”

“Pep Boys auto shop, they’re all in uniforms,” he said. “The Alabama Power company, they’re all in uniforms. The police department, they’re all in uniforms. But the dress code provisions that were passed by the board have a great deal of flexibility. Kids can wear five different colored polos, five different colored long-sleeved button-downs. They can wear different colored sweaters. Different colored pants or shorts.”

Owen said the dress code revisions will hopefully help students focus more on learning. He argued that they could save parents a lot of money. Many parents might otherwise spend large amounts of money on clothes to help their children fit in with peers, he said.

He said it hasn’t yet been determined where parents will be able to buy the clothes.

“There has not been any sort of contract or provider established,” he said. “If parents want to buy them at Walmart, they can buy them at Walmart. If they want to buy them at Old Navy, they can buy them at Old Navy. If they want to buy them on Amazon, they can buy them on Amazon.”

Owen said the school system is working on a way to help needy families afford clothes for their children.

“I know the director of federal programs and some of the other people, the elementary director… Different people have been networking to establish that pool of resources.” he said.

Owen said schools would try to establish clothing resource closets.

CCSD’s uniform guidelines state that the purpose of its new dress code is to maintain a safe and disciplined learning environment, minimizing bullying and disruptive behavior.

“Instead, respect, unity, and school pride will be maximized,” they state. “It is our belief that the wearing of uniforms by students will help to lessen the impact of socioeconomic differences. The focus, in turn, will shift more to achieving proficiency rather than what peers are wearing.”

As far as shirts go, the guidelines say that students can wear solid polos, golf shirts, button front oxford shirts or blouses with collars and sleeves (long or short sleeves are allowed) in solid white, black, navy blue, red or gray. A small logo on the chest area is allowed as long as it’s smaller than a quarter. All shirts and blouses must be long enough to be tucked in.

“Undershirts must be solid black, white or gray with no wording or pictures (tee shirts are considered undershirts) or using school approved spirit wear,” the guidelines say.

A solid white, black, navy blue, or gray crewneck or v-neck sweater or sweater vest will be permitted in cold weather with an appropriate shirt underneath.

Hoodies will not be allowed.

“Short sleeve or long sleeve tees that are school approved uniform wear may be worn on these designated days,” say the guidelines.

Pants, skirts, capri-length pants and shorts can be in the colors of solid khaki, black or navy blue. Blue jeans or denim, leggings and jeggings will not be allowed. Pants can’t have graphics or embroidery. Small labels or logos that can be covered with a quarter will be allowed. Skinny-cut pants with ankle elastics will be prohibited. 

Shorts, skirts and capris cannot be shorter than the width of a $1 bill from the knee when standing.

No baggy or sagging pants or shorts will be allowed. Neither will “low rise” clothing. Pants may not be worn with the waistband below the hipbone.

Clothing must be worn appropriately. For example, it can’t be inside-out or backwards, and pants can’t be rolled up.

See-through or mesh clothing that reveal the body or undergarments will not be allowed.

Pants or shorts with belt loops will require a belt. Belts must be plain black, brown, navy or clear with a plain belt buckle that is not oversized. All belts must be buckled.

Shoes must be close-toed with closed heels. Crocs will not be allowed. Shoes must be black, white, gray, navy or brown. They can have branding such as Nike, Adidas, etc. Shoes that have laces shall be laced and tied as they were designed to be.

“No gang-related clothing, accessories, symbols or intimidating manner of dress are allowed,” say the guidelines.

Additionally, no headwear will be permitted. Girls can wear headbands and bows, but hair accessories must be modest.

Students will be allowed to dress up for certain occasions such as Homecoming Week and Spirit Week. Those who don’t dress up must follow the standard dress code.

In general, students cannot wear: wind pants or sweatpants, except in PE;​​ velour pants and tops; oversized or ripped clothing; excessively tight clothing; overalls; bellbottoms; sleeveless tops or overcoats; unhemmed clothing; hooded sweatshirts; trench coats; bicycle shorts; leggings, jeggings, tights or stretch knit pants; denim jeans or jean fabric pants; clothing with slashes, rips or tears; flip flops, slides, sandals or Crocs; team sponsored hoodies for wear during the school day; sheer or see-through clothing; leggings (except with appropriate skirts such as during cold weather; billfold chains; or other clothing deemed inappropriate by the school principal.

Additionally, students cannot wear clothing that shows their midriffs.

When a student first violates the dress code, they will receive a written warning. Upon their second violation, they’ll receive detention. If they violate the dress code a third time, they will have to go to Saturday school or detention. Fourth and additional offenses will result in students going to Saturday school, in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension.

“Any student found to be in violation of the uniform policy must change to meet uniform requirements in a timely manner,” say the guidelines. “If necessary, the parent will be contacted to pick up the student or to bring a change of clothes. Any absence from class is unexcused. If the student does not change to meet uniform requirements within a period of time deemed appropriate by the principal, an additional violation will be issued. Excessive absences due to dress code infractions will result in truancy hearings and juvenile court referrals.”

The guidelines state that reasonable consideration will be made for students with religious beliefs or medical reasons that conflict with the dress code revisions.

“In such cases, additional documentation will be requested by the principal in order to meet exemption status of this policy,” they say. “If approved, such documentation must be provided every school year, inclusive of medical records, letters or clergy letterhead.”