Seattle public school students who have been told not to wear tank tops or short shorts will probably be relieved to hear that a new districtwide policy is in the works. The proposed policy will be introduced at tonight’s school board meeting.
Ronald Boy, the district’s acting chief legal counsel, said activism by students at Garfield High School helped pave the way for the new policy.
“Students at Garfield were saying that female students were being disproportionately 'dress-coded,' referring to a dress code violation, and they found unfairness in that and they wanted it to be changed,” Boy said.
The policy starts out with some core values, including that students should be able to dress in a way that expresses their individuality without fear of unnecessary discipline or body shaming. The goal is to make sure all students are treated equitably.
Under the proposal, students will be required to wear a top, a bottom and footwear. They're prohibited from wearing things that are pornographic, obscene or that promote illegal conduct or violence.
Boy said the aim is to reduce the amount of time students and administrators spend in disputes over whether clothing is appropriate. He says if the board approves the policy, district staff will meet with administrators this summer to inform them of it and answer questions.
“It’s our plan to make it very clear that we’re focused on if it’s creating a health or safety issue or if it’s contributing to a hostile or intimidating environment,” Boy said.