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Chambersburg School Board approves revised dress code

November 14, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Renee Sharpe, a parent, and a dress code committee and former school board member speaks Wednesday during the Chambersburg School Board meeting.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A scaled-down version of a districtwide dress code was approved by the Chambersburg School Board Wednesday night despite the pleas of one board member to keep the current policy for at least two more years.

After lengthy discussion — which included debate by the board and the public  — the board voted 8-1 in favor of implementing a dress code for the nearly 9,000 students in the school district.

The latest rendition of the dress and grooming policy, which goes into effect next school year, prohibits wearing hooded sweatshirts during the school day, jeans with holes in them and tops with writing.

School board member Joan Smith, who cast the lone dissenting vote, asked the board to reconsider implementing such a restrictive policy.

She said a lot of people, including parents and parent-teacher organization presidents, were left out of the process of formulating a dress code.

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Smith asked why logos are prohibited when students can wear expensive sneakers with logos.

Assistant Superintendent Cathy Dusman said prohibiting logos helps even the playing field between the haves and have nots.

“No matter what, we’re always going to have a society with haves and have nots,” Smith said.

The final dress code, which is another revision from the one listed on the district website, encourages secondary students to wear belts if pants have belt loops (but not required), allows for a 2-inch logo on tops in the first year of the policy only. The approved amendment allows the dress committee to possibly recommend modifications (to the dress code) at the elementary level with parental and PTO involvement.

Parent Tom Trgovac of Chambersburg said he favors the dress code, but it doesn’t have credibility because the community was omitted from the process.

“You have not engaged the community. If you continue to ignore the community, you will fail,” he said.

He said the committee that formulated the dress code had a singular viewpoint.

Renee Sharpe, a parent, and a dress code committee and former school board member, told the board to do the right thing and approve the policy.

“The committee accomplished what you directed us to do. Too many fine people have been maligned in this process,” she said.

She said the current revisions diluted the original policy that was presented to the board.

“I believe that the people who were maligned were the parents who did not know anything about the dress code,” said parent Mary Brown of Chambersburg.

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