Administrators, parents talk school dress code - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Administrators, parents talk school dress code

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Parents, community members, and members of the Waterloo Board of Education are considering the future of the Standardized Dress Code Policy. Last month, a judge ordered the board to reverse its current policy, saying it's illegal to tell kids only what they can wear.

To make the Standardized Dress Code Policy legal, the district created a revised policy -- spelling out exactly what kids cannot wear. More than thirty people had the task of going through this proposed revision, line by line, to determine the best dress code moving forward.

"You know, I thought we had just great conversation tonight," said Sharon Miller, Director of School and Community Relations

Matt Sprengeler, a representative of the group "Take Back Our Schools", had a different take on the meeting.

"It was like sitting in a room full of grownups who are very earnestly discussing the tooth fairy," he commented.

Should girls be allowed to wear yoga pants? Are pink tights distracting? Can a man's tie be a weapon? These were a few of the topics the committee attempted to tackle. And for good reason, said Miller.

"We spent a long time talking about belts and socks and tights, and I think it was a good conversation. It helped us to clarify positions and our whole purpose is to make the policy better," she explained.

The wording may look different, but the draft is essentially the same dress code policy currently enforced in many Waterloo schools. The committee is recommending a few changes, but Sprengeler said, letting kids wear backless shoes does not make the recommended, proscriptive dress code any more legal than the current, prescriptive one.

"This policy is essentially the same policy as the one the judge said was illegal back in October. This is just re-worked, it's the same policy with sunglasses on," he said.

The proposed Proscriptive Dress Code could be on the Board of Education's agenda at their next meeting, Monday November 22nd. First, the district's legal counsel will need to look over the recommendations.

Waterloo schools have also appealed the judge's decision. The earliest the State Board of Education will hear the case is at the end of January. At this point, the current Standardized Dress Code remains in place for schools which have adopted it in 2010. If the Board of Education adopts a revised version, it will supercede the current policy.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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