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Education

August 28, 2012

Duncan leaves no holes in student dress code

DUNCAN — Despite the number of students who spent the summer wearing whatever they wanted, Duncan schools have had minimal issues with students violating this dress code since their return to classes.

Sure there have been a few clothing items school principals have deemed inappropriate for school. But Merry Stone, Duncan High School assistant principal, and Mike Toone, Duncan Middle School principal, said the violations have been minimal.

“It has been going really well,” Stone said. “We have been laying out our expectations. And the students have been complying.”

This year, the middle school changed its dress code to reflect the high school’s dress code. The main change in the middle school dress code is it no longer allows students to have holes in their jeans.

Toone said this prevents major differences in the dress code as they move through their school careers. It also makes the transition from middle school to high school smoother.

“We try to keep it as consistent as we can,” Toone said.

To help make students more knowledgeable about the dress code, the middle school had the dress code posted on the front doors and the office doors before Back to School Night.

Toone and Stone said there have been a few dress code issues, but they have been minor and rare. They said if a student is in violation of the dress code, there are options for the student.

If the student wears an inappropriate T-shirt, both schools have T-shirts the student can change into. If there is a problem a T-shirt won’t rectify, high school students can either sign themselves out to go home and change, or have a parent bring a change of clothes. At the middle school, it would be up to a parent to bring clothes for the student to change into.

If a student chooses not to change clothes, they can spend the day in in-school suspension, Stone said.

“They can go home and change,” Stone said. “They have no wiggle room. And they’re coming in dressed for the dress code.

“We have had very few problems.”

Both administrators acknowledged how difficult it can before students to move into a new school year and to leave their summer clothes behind. But students are doing well this year, despite the heat.

Stone said summer is usually the most difficult time of year to get students to comply with dress code. But they’re keeping in step with the dress code.

Toone said the students have options in changing their clothes because the main goal is to keep students in class. The more time students are out of class, the more learning they’re missing.

“We don’t want students to miss class time, but we want kids to dress appropriately,” Toone said.

At both levels of school, the administrators rely on teachers to help them spot dress code violations. After all, students move from class to class, giving multiple teachers an opportunity to catch dress code violations.

Stone and Toone said these violations have been far and few between.

And as detailed as the dress code can be, the schools want students to have freedom to express themselves through their clothes within reason.

“There’s plenty of flexibility for individuality,” Toone said.

Stone had similar thoughts.

“They can still express that,” Stone said. “They can express their own personal style, as long as it doesn’t disrupt the educational environment.”

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