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547 Policy: Student Dress and Appearance

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I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to enhance the education of students by establishing expectations of dress and grooming related to educational goals and community standards. This policy includes after school and community education programs for students unless uniforms are required for the program.

II. DEFINITIONS

A. Hats for the purposes of this policy are defined as headgear that contains a brim.  

B. Headgear is defined as anything worn on the head that does not have a brim.  Headgear includes but is not limited to scarfs, hoodies, bandanas, and other forms of headwear.

III. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

A. It is the policy of this school district to encourage students to be dressed appropriately for school activities and in keeping with community standards.  This is a joint responsibility of the student and the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).

B. Appropriate clothing includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Clothing that covers all undergarments and/or covers all private parts.  Tops, bottoms, and shoes are required to be worn. Clothing worn for medical, cultural, or religious observances are allowed.

2. Headgear is allowed provided it does not impede the student’s ability to engage in learning.  The Principal and/or designee is allowed discretion to grant exceptions that allow students to wear hats. Exceptions are expected to be shared informationally with the Superintendent for review.

3. Clothing that does not create a health or safety hazard.

4. Clothing appropriate for the activity (i.e., physical education or the classroom).

C. Inappropriate clothing includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Clothing that does not cover all undergarments and/or does not cover all private parts.

2. Apparel promoting products or activities that are illegal for use by minors.

3. Objectionable emblems, badges, symbols, signs, words, objects or pictures on clothing or jewelry communicating a message that is racist, sexist, or otherwise derogatory to a protected group, evidences gang membership or affiliation, or approves, advances or provokes any form of religious, racial or sexual harassment and/or violence against other individuals as defined in School Board Policy 103 pertaining to “Racial, Religious and Sexual Harassment and Violence.”  

i. Any apparel or footwear that could damage school property.  

ii. Hats as defined in this policy are not allowed to be worn during the school day.  Any headgear and/or hair accessories must not block the face; and/or create a barrier to the student’s ability to hear and/or engage in learning.   

iii. It is not the intention of this policy to infringe on the rights of students to express political, religious, philosophical, or similar opinions by wearing apparel on which such messages are stated.  Such messages are acceptable as long as they are not lewd, vulgar, obscene, defamatory, profane, do not advocate violence or harassment against others or do not create a substantial disruption of the learning environment.

IV. UNIFORM DRESS

A. The Superintendent may authorize uniform dress guidelines for an individual school or program, provided that the guidelines reflect involvement of the school community, take into consideration the financial ability of students to purchase uniforms, and allow for exemptions upon parent request.   

B. The administration may recommend a form of dress considered appropriate for a specific event and communicate the recommendation to students and parents/guardians.

C. An organized student group may recommend a form of dress for students considered appropriate for a specific event and make such recommendation to the administration for approval.

V. SANCTIONS

When, in the judgment of the administration, a student’s appearance, grooming, or mode of dress interferes with or disrupts the educational process or school activities, or poses a threat to the health or safety of the student or others, the student will be directed to make modifications.  Parents/guardians will be notified.

Legal References:

  • U. S. Const., amend. I
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969)
  • Stephenson v. Davenport Community School District, 110 F.3d 1303 (8th Cir. 1997)
  • Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 445 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 2006)
  • Hicks v. Halifax County Board of Educ., 93 F.Supp.2d 649 (E.D.N.C. 1999)
  • McIntire v. Bethel School, I.S.D. No. 3, 804 F.Supp. 1415, 78 Educ. L.Rep. 828 (W.D. Okla. 1992)
  • Olesen v. Board of Educ. of Sch. Dist. No. 228, 676 F.Supp. 820, 44 Educ. L. Rep. 205 (N.D. Ill. 1987)

Cross References:

  • Policy 103 (Racial, Religious, Sexual Harassment and Violence)
  • Policy 541 (Student Behavior)

ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: August 20, 2007

REVISED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION:  July 15, 2019

Richfield Public Schools

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