Make the Rockford Dress Code More Inclusive
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I am not a distraction. I am a human.
We are proposing to change the Rockford Dress Code to be more inclusive. We would like our policy to be modeled after the Oregon NOW Model and Evanston Township High School's dress code. This is what we propose:
PROPOSED STUDENT DRESS CODE
Dress Code Philosophy
Rockford Public School’s student dress code supports equitable educational access and is written in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes. To ensure effective and equitable enforcement of this dress code, school staff shall enforce the dress code consistently and in a manner that does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size.
Our values are:
- All students should be able to dress comfortably for school and engage in the educational environment without fear of or actual unnecessary discipline or body shaming.
- All students and staff should understand that they are responsible for managing their own personal "distractions" without regulating individual students' clothing/self expression.
- Student dress code enforcement should not result in unnecessary barriers to school attendance.
- School staff should be trained and able to use student/body-positive language to explain the code and to address code violations.
- Teachers should focus on teaching without the additional and often uncomfortable burden of dress code enforcement.
- Reasons for conflict and inconsistent and/or inequitable discipline should be minimized whenever possible.
Our student dress code is designed to accomplish several goals:
- Maintain a safe learning environment in classes where protective or supportive clothing is needed, such as chemistry/biology (eye or body protection), dance (bare feet, tights/leotards), or PE (athletic attire/shoes).
- Allow students to wear clothing of their choice that is comfortable.
- Allow students to wear clothing that expresses their self-identified gender.
- Allow students to wear religious attire without fear of discipline or discrimination.
- Prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories with offensive images or language, including profanity, hate speech, and pornography.
- Prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories that denote, suggest, display or reference alcohol, drugs or related paraphernalia or other illegal conduct or activities.
- Prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories that will interfere with the operation of the school, disrupt the educational process, invade the rights of others, or create a reasonably foreseeable risk of such interference or invasion of rights.
- Prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories that reasonably can be construed as being or including content that is racist, lewd, vulgar or obscene, or that reasonably can be construed as containing fighting words, speech that incites others to imminent lawless action, defamatory speech, or threats to others.
- Ensure that all students are treated equitably regardless of race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size.
Rockford Public School expects that all students will dress in a way that is appropriate for the school day or for any school sponsored event. Student dress choices should respect the District’s intent to sustain a community that is inclusive of a diverse range of identities. The primary responsibility for a student’s attire resides with the student and their parent(s) or guardian(s). The school district is responsible for seeing that student attire does not interfere with the health or safety of any student, that student attire does not contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student, and that dress code enforcement does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size. Any restrictions to the way a student dresses must be necessary to support the overall educational goals of the school and must be explained within this dress code.
1. Basic Principle: Certain body parts must be covered for all students at all times.
Clothes must be worn in a way such that genitals, buttocks, breasts, and nipples are fully covered with opaque fabric. However, cleavage should not have coverage requirements. All items listed in the “must wear” and “may wear” categories below must meet this basic principle.
2. Students Must Wear*, while following the basic principle of Section 1 above:
● A Shirt (with fabric in the front, back, and on the sides under the arms), AND
● Pants/jeans or the equivalent (for example, a skirt, sweatpants, leggings, a dress or shorts), AND
*Courses that include attire as part of the curriculum (for example, professionalism, public speaking, and job readiness) may include assignment-specific dress, but should not focus on covering bodies in a particular way or promoting culturally-specific attire. Activity-specific shoes requirements are permitted (for example, athletic shoes for PE).
3. Students May Wear, as long as these items do not violate Section 1 above:
● Hats facing straight forward or straight backward. Hats must allow the face to be visible to staff, and not interfere with the line of sight of any student or staff.
● Religious headwear
● Hoodie sweatshirts (wearing the hood overhead is allowed, but the face and ears must be visible to school staff).
● Fitted pants, including opaque leggings, yoga pants and “skinny jeans”
● Ripped jeans, as long as underwear and buttocks are not exposed.
● Tank tops, including spaghetti straps; halter tops
● Athletic attire
● Visible waistbands on undergarments or visible straps on undergarments worn under other clothing (as long as this is done in a way that does not violate Section 1 above).
4. Students Cannot Wear:
● Violent language or images.
● Images or language depicting drugs or alcohol (or any illegal item or activity).
● Hate speech, profanity, pornography.
● Images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment based on any protected class or consistently marginalized groups.
● Any clothing that reveals visible undergarments (visible waistbands and visible straps are allowed)
● Swimsuits (except as required in class or athletic practice).
● Accessories that could be considered dangerous or could be used as a weapon.
● Any item that obscures the face or ears (except as a religious observance).
5. Dress Code Enforcement
To ensure effective and equitable enforcement of this dress code, school staff shall enforce the dress code consistently using the requirements below. School administration and staff shall not have discretion to vary the requirements in ways that lead to discriminatory enforcement.
● Students will only be removed from spaces, hallways, or classrooms as a result of a dress code violation as outlined in Sections 1 and 4 above. Students in violation of Section 1 and/or 4 will be provided three (3) options to be dressed more to code during the school day:
- Students will be asked to put on their own alternative clothing, if already available at school, to be dressed more to code for the remainder of the day.
- Students will be provided with temporary school clothing to be dressed more to code for the remainder of the day.
- If necessary, students’ parents may be called during the school day to bring alternative clothing for the student to wear for the remainder of the day.
● No student should be affected by dress code enforcement because of racial identity, sex assigned at birth, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious identity, household income, body size/type, or body maturity.
● School staff shall not enforce the school’s dress code more strictly against transgender and gender nonconforming students than other students.
● Students should not be shamed or required to display their body in front of others (students, parents, or staff) in school. “Shaming” includes, but is not limited to:
- kneeling or bending over to check attire fit;
- measuring straps or skirt length;
- asking students to account for their attire in the classroom or in hallways in front of others;
- calling out students in spaces, in hallways, or in classrooms about perceived dress code violations in front of others; in particular, directing students to correct sagged pants that do not expose the entire undergarment, or confronting students about visible bra straps, since visible waistbands and straps on undergarments are permitted; and,
- accusing students of “distracting” other students with their clothing.
These dress code guidelines shall apply to regular school days and summer school days, as well as any school-related events and activities, such as graduation ceremonies, dances and prom.
Students who feel they have been subject to discriminatory enforcement of the dress code should contact the Assistant Principal.
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