State Board of Education rules against Waterloo dress code - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State Board of Education rules against original Waterloo dress code


DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The Iowa Board of Education has ruled that the original dress code passed by the Waterloo Community School District goes against state law.

According to state law, schools cannot tell students what they must wear, instead they can only decide what students are not allowed to wear. The Board's decision supports a previous ruling by a judge.

Since the judge's ruling, the Waterloo School Board passed a new dress code that meets state law. That means this ruling has no effect on the current dress code or what students will be able to wear to school tomorrow.

However, as this chapter of the story is closing, the next one is just beginning.

"This chapter ended after the next one started, so its a little bit confusing to everyone involved," said parent Jason Van Clark.

The Waterloo dress code saga is getting more than a bit confusing for anyone not following it closely.

"This whole decision today was really not about Waterloo, because the policy they ruled on today doesn't exist anymore," said Superintendent Gary Norris.

In November, the Waterloo Board of Education replaced the policy which Norris nicknamed "Waterloo 1" with "Waterloo 2".

But both Greta and the group of parents wanted the board to rule on this appeal.

"There are 359 other school districts in the state that are keeping their eyes on this decision, and that need the guidance that a state board gives," said Greta.

"We felt like we needed to finish this and quite frankly, we learned a few things we can use moving forward on our next appeal," said Van Clark.

The parents are agreeing to hold off on their appeal of "Waterloo 2", waiting now for lawmakers to consider the issue. It's already coming up in the house, passed through subcommittee as HF 77. Greta believes, the statehouse is the appropriate place for the next chapter to unfold.

"This decision in no way passes judgement on the wisdom of what the Waterloo Schools did. We're not saying its good, bad, or indifferent. We're just saying they went beyond the authority that they had in the statute and those policy discussions really do belong in the legislature," said Greta.

HF77 was passed by subcommittee Wednesday. Thursday morning, all of the parties involved -- both the District and the parents -- wrapped up the meeting and headed right on over to the capitol to make sure their voices are heard by lawmakers.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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