Dress code policy adopted

Published 10:22 am Thursday, August 22, 2013

JACKSON – After toying with adopting a school uniform policy, members of the Northampton County Board of Education have opted to establish, and to have strictly enforced, a student dress code policy.

The newly adopted policy will be distributed today (Thursday) when the Northampton County Public School System conducts its annual Open House at each school. Those events will be held at Central Elementary School (8-11 a.m.); Conway Middle School (5-7 p.m.); Gaston Elementary School (3-5 p.m.); Gaston Middle School (5-7 p.m.); Northampton County High School (6-8 p.m.); Squire Elementary School (1-3 p.m.); and Willis Hare Elementary School (8-10 a.m. and from 4-6 p.m.).

Classes begin on Monday, Aug. 26 for the 2013-14 school year.

For months, the Northampton School Board has debated how to control the type of clothing students wear without severely limiting their individual style. There was some discussion about going to a more restrictive school uniform policy (one where the style and color(s) of clothing and accessories are pre-determined). That idea never really got off the ground.

“We need a dress code policy, not a school uniform policy,” said School Board member Erica Smith Ingram at the board’s July meeting. “We do not need to restrict what color of clothing/shoes can be worn, but we need to ensure that there are no offensive images on the clothing. We need to put together a policy with some teeth in it, but one that does allow some freedom by the students on what they wear. I feel our students and parents will look at such a policy and dress responsibly.”

Board member Clinton Williams said whatever policy is adopted, it needs to be enforced at all grade levels.

“We need to be specific within this policy of what measures are taken if the policy is not followed,” he said. “The more specific we are then the less room there is for interpretation of the policy.”

Fellow board member Kelvin Edwards agreed with the policy’s enforcement.

“Enforce the rules as written; everybody needs to do the same thing,” Edwards noted.

As noted in the policy, the personal appearance of every student is an important component of establishing a safe environment for optimal learning and respect for one another. Students are expected to adhere to standards of dress and appearance that are compatible with an effective learning environment.

The newly adopted Student Dress Code Policy is as follows:

Dress Code Regulations

Clothing and accessories that interrupt or disrupt the school learning environment are prohibited. Prohibited clothing and accessories include, but are not limited to, items that promote gang or gang related activities and items that contain vulgar, insolent, or sexually explicit material. Any school system employee may alert a school administrator to a dress code policy violation.


All pants must be worn at a student’s waistline (Note: For the purposes of this policy, the waistline is the narrowest point of the human body between the ribcage and hips).

If pants have belt loops, students must wear a belt.

Pants must have no more than 6 pockets.

Excessively baggy or tight fitting pants are prohibited.

Undergarments/underwear shall not be visible at any time.

Pants may not have holes.

Pajamas, leggings, and tight spandex are prohibited.


Tops that reveal underwear, cleavage, or bare skin between the upper chest and the waistline are prohibited.

Sleeveless tops are prohibited.

Polo shirts, turtleneck shirts, T-shirts, and collared blouses/shirts are allowed.

V-neck T-shirts may not be worn as an outer layer.

Visibility of shoulders and midriffs is prohibited.

Undergarments must not be visible.

Un-tucked shirts of excessive length are prohibited.


These items must be worn at the waistline and must extend to at the middle of the entire thigh.


Light outerwear, such as sweatshirts, vests, and sweaters may be worn.

Heavy coats are permitted, but must be removed upon entry into the classroom.


Steel toes, cleats, bedroom shoes, high heels of greater than 2 inches, flip flops, Chinese slippers, and heelies are prohibited.

Shoes with laces must be properly laced and tied.


Caps, hats, earmuffs, head coverings of any kind, and sunglasses are prohibited inside school buildings.

Large chains/jewelry and belt buckles are prohibited.

Consequences for Violation

of Dress Code Policy

1st Offense: Covering of items and/or bare skin, if applicable, and parent meeting or telephone call regarding policy compliance.

2nd Offense: Covering of items and/or bare skin, if applicable, and parent meeting or telephone call regarding policy compliance. Maximum of 2 days of in-school suspension at the middle and high school levels. Appropriate disciplinary action, not to include out of school

Suspension, at the elementary school level. In addition, the school Administrator may revoke the student’s privileges to attend and/or participate in any school-sponsored extracurricular activities, including a student’s participation in athletic competition.

3rd Offense (and all subsequent offenses): Covering of items, if applicable. Maximum of 3 days of out of school suspension (“OSS”) and a parent conference. The three days OSS shall be reduced by the school administrator if the parent arranges for a parent conference (to include the student) on or before the third day of suspension and the parent enters into an agreement stating that the student will comply with the dress code policy in the future. If such a parent conference is held, the OSS shall end on the day of the parent conference. This provision may only be utilized once to shorten the length of the three day out of school suspension. In addition to the three days OSS, the school Administrator may revoke the student’s privileges to attend and/or participate in any school-sponsored extra-curricular activities, including a student’s participation in athletic competition, or require the student to participate in a program for solution based intervention. If the student drives, his/her privileges to drive to school may be suspended, and/or the student may be placed on lunch restrictions for up to three consecutive days.


This policy shall apply to all students in all school buildings during the regular school day, on field trips, and when students represent the school. This policy shall also apply to all students at all times on all Board of Education property; including in school buildings and on school grounds; on all school buses and other school vehicles. This policy does not apply to school sanctioned uniforms and costumes for athletic, choral, or dramatic performances with the prior written approval of the principal.

Exceptions/Special Circumstances

The administration shall make reasonable accommodations on the basis of a student’s religious beliefs or medical conditions. Parents or guardians seeking exemption from this policy should submit an application to be reviewed by the principal.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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