Student dress code modified

Published 11:03 am Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WINTON – In an effort to address concerns posed by parents of school-aged children and other members of the community, Hertford County Public Schools has slightly modified its Student Dress Code Policy.

The changes were made here yesterday (Monday) during a meeting of the Hertford County Board of Education. In a vote, the five-member board favored the changes, which will take effect immediately.

The revisions approved by the school board are as follows:

Shoes/footwear still must be worn at all times, but no longer are required to be all black in color. Additionally, shoe laces are no longer required to be all black, but those laces must remain tied at all times and cannot drag the floor.

The dress code policy still prohibits the wearing of bedroom shoes, flip flops, shower shoes and spike heels.

As for outerwear, the policy still allows for lightweight jackets, sweaters, or sweatshirts to be worn during cold weather days as long as they are of the approved solid shirt colors (black, white, navy or gold/yellow). At their meeting on Monday, the school board approved an addition to the outerwear policy, which prohibits vulgarity, profanity, and obscenity on those aforementioned articles of clothing. The policy of students wearing a collared shirt (of approved colors) underneath the outerwear remains intact.

Other outerwear policies remain, to include hoods cannot be worn on the head while students are inside school buildings; lightweight jackets, sweaters, or sweatshirts cannot have any labels, artwork or graphics or insignias of any kind; and overcoats may be worn to school, but must be removed once the student is inside the building. Revisions made on Monday removed the sentence “(Overcoats) will be placed in the student’s locker for the entire day.”

The school board also voted in favor of revising the compliance measures/disciplinary actions taken against students found in violation of the Dress Code Policy. They are as follows:

1st Offense – Parent notification and/or conference (“student will be returned home” was struck from the policy);

2nd Offense – Parents brings (proper) clothes;

3rd Offense – “Schools develop a surplus of clothing for students to change or parents pickup students” was deleted and “Student returns home” was added;

4th Offense – 3-day suspension and parent notification and/or conference;

5th Offense – 5-day suspension and parent notification and conference; and

6th Offense – 10-day suspension with recommendation for long-term suspension.

Note: the fourth, fifth, and sixth offenses are all unchanged from the original policy.

The School Board also left intact the following portions of the compliance measures/disciplinary actions:

In order to ensure a smooth transition to the mandatory student uniform policy, disciplinary action for failure to abide by the policy shall be in the discretion of the principal for the first five days of the school year. Students transferring in from other school districts will have a grace period of 30 school days in which to comply with the policy. Exemptions may be allowed for extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Disciplinary action may be taken if a student’s dress or appearance is such that it constitutes a threat to the health or safety of others, distracts the attention of other students or staff from their work, or otherwise violates this student uniform policy.

Students who object to the student uniform policy, based upon sincerely held religious beliefs may appeal to the superintendent for an exemption. The superintendent shall exempt a student from wearing a school uniform when wearing the uniform would impose a substantial burden on the exercise of a sincerely held religious belief. A parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis of a student shall submit to the superintendent a written statement explaining the religious belief and how it is affected by the student uniform policy and may submit examples of other circumstances in which the sincerity of the religious belief has been demonstrated. A decision to deny the exemption shall be subject to review by the board of education.

The policies regarding the color and styles of school uniform shirts, pants/capris, skirts/dresses/shorts/skorts, belts, and socks remain as originally written and adopted.

In a statement, HCPS officials believe that school uniforms are a positive and creative way to increase school safety and improve student achievement. The Student Dress

Code Policy # 4316 has been revised for the 2016-17 school year due to the concerns in the community by students, parents, and business leaders. This updated Dress Code Policy will be on the district’s website at

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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