Dave Chupa, Johnson City Schools’ supervisor of instruction and facilities, said recently a team of principals and assistant principals decided to confront what they see as a slide toward inappropriate student attire on campus.
“The feeling was that students were trying to stretch the limits of the dress code,” Chupa told Baker. “The administration made decisions to concentrate a greater effort on enforcement.”
As a result, administrators have decided to get tough on violators by forgoing the warnings that have been given to students as a standard penalty and issue a detention for first offenses. Multiple infractions could also lead to in- or out-of-school suspension.
Chupa said girls wearing shorts, skirts and dresses above the mid-thigh length set by the high school’s handbook are the primary concerns of the principals who called for the enforcement drive. He said boys in sagging pants were a problems a few years ago, but recent fashion trends have caused students to pull up their britches.
Science Hill’s dress code forbids sleeveless tops, leggings and yoga pants without mid-thigh cover, excessive cleavage, “disruptive” hair colors and styles and all head coverings.
Chupa said the school system doesn’t expect many parents and students to complain about the tougher penalties because the campaign to tighten enforcement doesn’t change the current dress code.
“It’s not a major change,” he told Baker. “We haven’t reached a point where the students are having to wear khakis and solid skirts. We want our students to be able to express themselves, as long as they don’t get into those types of issues that distract them from learning.”
We want to hear from you. Is the dress code for Science Hill students fair, or do you think it goes too far? Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.