Alvin ISD officials hope dress code changes made in anticipation of the fall semester will lessen confrontations with students and increase parental options.
"People we surveyed expressed that the former dress code, among other things, was producing higher clothing costs," said Alvin ISD communications director Dan Combs. "This was because many parents felt they essentially had to provide two sets of clothes for their kids, the first for school and the second for nonschool time," he explained.
The Alvin ISD Dress Code Committee, he said, reviewed changes brought to them by district administrators that were the result of concerns raised by a group of secondary-level principals. The committee itself was composed of a principal and parents from five district schools.
"A number of principals approached former superintendent Fred Brent earlier in the year and pointed out that one of the district's primary stated goals is to foster positive relationships between students and adults. They said the students they most needed to reach out to were often ones they had to confront more frequently about dress code violations," Combs said.
And those dress code regulations for which they were confronting students, they said, were of a subjective nature. That is, what is really wrong with a plaid or polka dot patterned shirt, administrators asked. Administrators and teachers, said they were forced to harp on the very students they needed most to build relationships with.
He said principals wanted to see the district amend its policy to make it functional and practical but not to make it too lax.
Changes have been made to four areas of the dress code.
The most significant change is allowing students to now wear shirts with various "school appropriate patterns," which the code says includes plaids, stripes, polka dots or repetitive prints. Under the former dress code students were allowed to wear only solid colored shirts or school spirit shirts approved for school.
A second change relates to pants, shorts, skirts, jumpers and overalls. Students were previously allowed to wear solid-colored black, navy or beige items and blue or black jeans. Students may now wear "any solid color" pants, shorts, skirts, jumpers, overalls or jeans.
The third change relates to the length of shorts, skorts, skirts, jumpers and bib overalls, culottes and dresses. In the past, these items had to reach the top of the kneecap or be of knee length. The code now states, "Shorts, skorts, skirts, jumpers, and bib overalls must be slightly above the knee."
The fourth change allows "tights/leggings of any school-appropriate pattern may be worn under a school dress code regulation-length skirt, dress, skorts or shorts."
Students are still not allowed to wear clothes that include messages about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, violence, prison activities, sexual innuendos or cultural or racial intolerance.
A "Quick Reference Dress Code Change Guide" for the upcoming school year is available at the district website, alvinisd.net. Scroll down slightly and then click the "dress code" icon in the middle of the home page.
There were no changes to the Pearland ISD dress code for the upcoming school year.