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Dress Code in Public Schools


Title: Dress Code in Public Schools Author: Train11 Last modified by: OSBORNE, SARA JANE Created Date: 9/11/2008 1:54:05 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Dress Code in Public Schools

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Dress Code in Public Schools
  • What can you wear?
  • Or,
  • What cant you wear?

DRESS AND APPEARANCE per Colorado Springs Board
of Education
  • Student appearance is expected to be acceptable
    for a K-12 educational environment.
  • Any clothing accessories, or body adornments that
    interferes with or disrupts the educational
    environment are unacceptable.
  • Clothing should fit, be neat and clean, and
    conform to standards of safety, good taste, and
    decency. Acceptable footwear is required to be
    worn at all times. Parents of students requiring
    accommodation for religious beliefs, disability,
    or other good cause should contact the principal.
  • Examples of clothing, accessories, or body
    adornments that are not acceptable are items
  • contain language or images that are vulgar,
    discriminatory, or obscene,
  • promote illegal or violent conduct, such as
    the unlawful use of weapons, drugs, alcohol,
  • tobacco, or drug paraphernalia,
  • contain perceived threat such as gang symbols
  • expose cleavage, private parts, the midriff,
    or undergarments or that is otherwise sexually
  • are considered sleepwear,
  • are headwear,
  • are sunglasses,
  • tank, tube, halter tops, spaghetti straps,
    strapless or backless clothing. Dresses, skirts,
  • or tops worn over stretch pants or hose not
    reaching at least mid-thigh.
  • NO garment should be worn too tight and or
    higher than the fingertips.
  • Pants, skirts or shorts worn below intended
    waistline or inside out, and boxer shorts.
  • Jewelry or accessories that may be used as a
    weapon (e.g. two or three finger rings that are
  • joined, chains, oversized necklaces).

Acceptable athletic clothing may be worn in
physical education classes. Please see P.E.
teachers for their policy regarding clothes worn
in their classes. Clothing normally worn when
participating in school sponsored extracurricular
or sports activities may be worn during normal
school hours with prior approval from the
Principal. The Principal of any school may
establish additional guidelines for its own
students. If a school chooses to adopt
guidelines, the principal is encouraged to
include students, parents, and faculty in the
formulation of those guidelines. Guidelines must
ensure that the dress code does not single out or
discriminate against religious expression or any
other protected right. Students and parents shall
be informed of the existence of the dress code,
any guidelines, and consequences for violations
at the time of initial enrollment and at the
outset of each school year. Any student who comes
to school without proper attention having been
given to their appearance, which includes
cleanliness, in violation of this policy may be
asked to cover the non-complying clothing,
disciplined, sent home to be properly prepared
for school, and required to prepare himself or
herself for the classroom before re-entering
school. Students who violate this policy in a
continuing or flagrant manner may also be
recommended for suspension and/or expulsion. See
File JK and JK-R. Final determination of
appropriate dress is at the discretion of the
The 2012-2013 D11 Dress Code
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Does Alan Newsomes shirt violate the dress code?
  • Messages that relate to . . . weapons
  • Promote . . .the unlawful use of weapons

Do these violate a weapons clause in a dress
The Court uses a two part test
  • Did the student intend to convey a particular
    message and
  • Would reasonable observers understand the message?

Do students have a constitutional right to sag?
  • A federal court in New Mexico said no.
  • Sagging does not convey a particular message
  • Its merely a fashion trend

What about hats?
  • There has never been a successful challenge to
    the hat dispute
  • The only exception is for religious headwear

A dress code is constitutional if it
  • Is authorized under state law
  • Advances an important government interest (safety
    in schools)
  • Is not related to the suppression of free
    expression (undifferentiated fear)
  • Only incidentally restricts free expression in a
    minimal fashion

What if the clothing displays vulgar or lewd
  • Federal district courts have ruled that schools
    can prohibit such clothing
  • What case?
  • Fraser!

Most of the time, schools win.
  • Dress codes banning the Confederate flag have
    been upheld
  • For this case, the court weighed whether the
    school has had incidents of racial tension

Sometimes, students win too.
  • A federal judge ruled in favor of student Bretton
    Barber because the school had silenced Barbers
    expression more out of dislike . . . than fear
    it might disrupt school.

Political expression
  • Is more protected than any other expression
  • What case?
  • Tinker!

What about hair?
  • Courts are divided on this
  • Color is more the current issue (rather than
  • Courts recognize that students can change their
    clothes more readily than their hair.

The Bottom Line
  • The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on dress
    code, so laws still vary around the country.
  • And, courts tend to avoid telling school
    districts what to do, so most school policies are
    relatively safe and constitutional.
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