Judge recommends Waterloo dress code be reversed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Judge recommends Waterloo dress code be reversed

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Thursday afternoon, a state judge issued a recommendation that the new dress code of the Waterloo Community School District be reversed.

The concluding statement in a news release on the decision from the Iowa Department of Education reads:

"For the foregoing reasons, it is recommended that the decision of the Board of Directors of the Waterloo Community School District made on May 24, 2010, imposing mandatory district-wide dress code policy be REVERSED.  The effect of this Decision is that the Waterloo Community School District standardized dress code policy is void.  This Decision does not void local regulation # 504.3-R.  There are no costs of this appeal to be assigned."

Waterloo Superintendent Gary Norris says this decision does not immediately change anything for students.

The judge's opinion is not final until the State Board of Education gives its approval.  The Board can approve, deny or modify the decision at its next regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 17.

On Sept. 1, Waterloo school leaders and Rick and Teesha Peters met at the Iowa Department of Education for a hearing on the matter.  The Peters argue the dress code is actually a uniform policy, and is not permissible under Iowa law.  The district argues the code is in the best interest of student performance and achievement.

The judge said the policy is too prescriptive and not proscriptive, meaning the policy can say what students are not allowed to wear, but should not say what they must wear. When schools say what the students have to wear, it becomes a uniform policy and conflicts with Iowa law.

The Waterloo School Board president says they will work hard to come up with a revised, legal dress code before the state board's next meeting on Nov. 17.

The Waterloo School Board has not decided if it will appeal the decision.


Online Reporter: Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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