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Some students not hip on dress code idea

October 14, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Standing with friends at Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Smithsburg High School sophomore Eric Windsor, wearing long camouflage shorts, a Green Day T-shirt and hair dyed bright orange, said at school he tries to wear whatever he wants, but doesn't always get away with it.

"I got in trouble for wearing a spiked bracelet," he said and then joked, "apparently I'm not supposed to hit people."

The Washington County Board of Education plans to form a task force to tackle dress code issues in public schools.

"I think more than anything I'd like to see a consistent policy," said School Board President W. Edward Forrest.

Board member Paul W. Bailey proposed looking into a task force at the last School Board work session to address the time spent in disciplining students on dress codes.

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Schools Executive Director of Secondary Education Boyd Michael III said each school has its own dress code, but overall, shirts bearing drug, alcohol, sex, violence or degrading subject material are not allowed.

"It's not the beach, it's school," he said. "Kids act differently when they dress different ways."

Michael said Parent Teacher Associations, citizens advisory committees, administrators and students would be involved in the revision of dress codes.

Board Member Doris J. Nipps said she thinks it's important to have students involved from the very beginning because some have asked for more strict codes.

Nipps is concerned about "slinky" clothing worn by singers like Britney Spears.

"Kids emulate these folks," she said.

Michael said the beginning of the school year, when kids don new fall fashions, and toward the end of the school year, when shorts start being worn, are the most troublesome times for students and potential dress code violations.

Candy Beane, 17, a South Hagerstown High School senior, said she thinks dress codes are "stupid."

Beane, while shopping at the mall, was wearing a tank top showing her midriff, which is not allowed at her school. She also can't wear tank tops that have spaghetti straps.

"You can show your (rear end), but you can't show your shoulders," Beane said.

Nipps is concerned about the baggy jeans Beane referred to, claiming they're a safety hazard.

Lindsay Fielder, 15, a Clear Spring High School sophomore, said she thinks rules on shorts are too strict. She said she's gotten into trouble in the past for wearing them too short.

"It's hard to find shorts that are fingertip length," said Fielder, who was wearing a pair of jeans and a tight-fitting, long-sleeved top.

Nipps said maybe in the future, when designing a universal code, the length of the inseam can be considered because some students have really long legs.

"When you measure the inseam (on some shorts), it's virtually nonexistent," she said.

"About the time we figure out the dress code, the fashion designers come up with something else," Michael said.

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