School board proposes dress code

June 23, 2003

The Washington County Board of Education is seeking comment on the proposed dress code policy until Thursday. E-mail comments to the Board of Education at or send mail in care of Debbie Cechovic at the board office, 820 Commonwealth Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

The Board on Tuesday approved 7-0 its first reading of Washington County Public Schools' first-ever system-wide dress code.

Shulamit Finkelstein, co-chair of the Dress Code Task Force, said the need to establish a system-wide dress code came after the Citizens Advisory Council conducted a survey in 1999-2000 that showed various members of the school system and community preferred a consistent code to one that varies from school to school.

The 1999-2000 Citizens Advisory Council's Appropriate School Dress Survey questioned students, parents, community members, business-people and school system staff.

In January, the Dress Code Task Force, made up of students, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and business professionals, began to study and develop the proposed policy.


The proposed code addresses the consequences for violating it. On a student's first offense, he or she will review the student handbook with an administrator or teacher and be required to adjust or change his or her clothes.

Should further offenses occur, students would be disciplined under the School Board's discipline policies and procedures.

The proposed policy has been posted on the WCPS Web site ( for review.

Dress code highlights

Here are highlights of the proposed system-wide dress code for Washington County Public Schools students:


  • Hats and bandannas

  • Visors and sunglasses

  • Shirts that do not cover the entire back, shoulders and midriff area, and that expose undergarments

  • See-through shirts

  • Shirts that show cleavage

  • Skirts, dresses or shorts that do not cover the mid-thighs when seated or do not extend to the fingertips when standing

  • Muscle shirts and tank tops because they are considered undergarments. Shirts must be worn over or under them.

  • Pants that do not cover undergarments at all times

  • Pants that are excessively baggy and fall off the hips

  • Pants that are excessively long and drag on the floor

  • Bare feet

  • Jewelry or accessories that can be used as or perceived to be weapons, such as chokers, rings or bracelets with spikes or chains

  • Clothes that make reference to profanity, drugs, alcohol, tobacco or violence, or bear sexual messages

  • Clothes with words or symbols on them that offend, demean or promote hatred toward an identifiable person or group
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