Greencastle-Antrim schools consider requiring 'modest' necklines

April 18, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Greencastle-Antrim School District on Thursday approved an amended Student Code of Conduct for the 2008-09 school year.

Board members elected to amend the proposed code because they could not come to an agreement on the dress code concerning the neckline of shirt tops.

The dress code for the current school year reads: "The neckline of garments must be modest."

But just what is modest? Administrators have had trouble enforcing the code because they said it is too vague.

"My definition of modesty is different that yours," high school assistant principal Ron Powers told the board. "That's why we need to quantify it."

The proposed dress code, which was discussed at the April 3 meeting and reviewed Thursday, called for a neckline that falls no more than 3 inches from the top of the collarbone.


Board member Howard Ritchey opened a 15-minute discussion of the dress code, suggesting a 5-inch span from the collarbone to the neckline of the shirt.

"Three inches is an awfully tight collar for some of the blouses and tops that students wear," Ritchey said. "If we can all come to a consensus on something, we'll do it. We just need to open it up for discussion. It could well go back to 3 inches, but we need to continue to talk about it."

Board members will further discuss an appropriate standards during a work session at the next meeting.

Middle school principal Mark Herman said administrators must be cautious when enforcing the current dress code.

"The last thing we need to get into is being perceived as making an attack on any student," Herman said. "Kids can accept any rule if they know it up front, understand it, and know why it is being enforced. That's why we need the board to give us something quantifiable and measurable."

Greencastle parent Sarah Younker was part of a committee formed to review the proposed changes to the code of conduct. She said the original proposal - received in late February - called for a neckline falling only to the collarbone.

"That was ridiculous," Younker said.

She pointed out that the V-neck she was wearing at Thursday's meeting, which she said measured 4 inches, would be appropriate for both of her daughters, who are enrolled in the school district.

"(The code) needs to be at least 4 inches, but I don't think it should be any more than 5 (inches)," Younker added.

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