School District Adopts New Dress Code Policy

School District Adopts New Dress Code Policy

File photo

ROCK SPRINGS – There’s a lot of litigation surrounding school dress codes and districts are losing those legal battles according to Sweetwater County School District No. 1’s Assistant Superintendent Nicole Bolton.

The district’s board of trustees unanimously approved several changes to the district’s dress codes Monday night, removing language that allowed the district to dictate specifics about student and employee attire. Bolton said many of the legal challenges are based around what girls wear and how different body types can impact how dress codes are enforced. 

For students, the code removes specific guidelines about the length and style of garments, focusing on prohibiting clothing that has sexually-explicit messaging, clothing and accessories that intend to convey membership in a criminal gang, as well as clothing already banned in the policy that promotes violence, suicide, drug use and alcohol consumption. 

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For staff, the dress code is defined as business casual, “blending traditional business wear with a more relaxed style, that is still professional and appropriate for the assigned duties and services to be performed by staff,” according to the code. 

Speaking about proposed changes, Trustee Cole Wright said most of the language came from administrators and employees who deal with dress code issues on a day-to-day basis.

“As Mrs. Bolton mentioned, to have specific language … based on where fingertips lie or what have you, that doesn’t accommodate all body types,” he said. “And so you get away with people that are wearing different things that might be inappropriate on one person and are appropriate on another person.”

Wright said the district has to be very careful with different genders and gender identification with how the policy is written so it isn’t biased. Wright said language exists that communicates an expectation for students to dress appropriately and if a teacher sees clothing they believe is inappropriate or distracting to a class, it can be dealt with.

“This language had to be specifically written to be very neutral to all those that it pertains to,” Wright said.