Uniform confusion

Efforts to change dress code thwarted

Uniform confusion

dress code imageThe suddenly revised uniform policy, released July 27, confused and outraged some parents and students. However, the questions are why did it change? Who changed it? And, of course, what is the new policy?

The saga begins with the Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools merger. “The unified school district did not allow changes be made to existing uniform policies or dress codes for the first year of the merger,” Vice Principal Carrye Holland said.

With the completion of that first year, the policy was open for review.

“We decided to pull interested parties—parents, students and teachers and some administrators—together to make the dress code work for us,” Holland said.

The school wanted to make the uniform policy “a little more friendly, a little more accessible, a little more relaxed. Drop the collars – wear the jeans,” Holland said.

However, a problem emerged last week when administration was preparing the student handbook. In referencing Board policy, they discovered that SCS Policy #1601 had been revised and released on July 17, almost a month after White Station had distributed its more relaxed policy to students.

The new SCS policy distinguished between a “dress code” and “standardized dress/ uniform.”  The policy stated that no school could change its existing uniform policy if the school had not officially opted out of uniforms. White Station had not done so. Therefore, the changes regarding collars and denim were in violation of this new policy.

“We were all good, until we looked at it, and [Board’s Policy Department] was telling us that we are in violation by making those changes,” Holland said.

“Schools should have gone through the opt-out process last year to be able to make changes this year,” Alishia Green, Board Policy Administrator, said in a telephone interview.

The school will not be able to review or revise the current dress code until at least next year.  However, the change is a possibility only if students, parents, and school officials collaborate.

“I definitely think you can get parents involved, [but] it’s a very involved process,” said parent Angie Brittain, who was on the school’s uniform committee in June.

To see the 8-step SCS “Procedures for Modifying School Method of Dress,”  CLICK HERE.

For now, students must dress according to the policy distributed at registration. Administration has stated that all students not following policy on Monday will be disciplined according to policy.

To see WSHS Uniform Policy, CLICK HERE.