In just under a month, students across
Monroe County will head back to school. This year, a few significant
changes to the dress code for middle and high schoolers in the county
schools strive to make the back-to-school shopping just a little
easier for parents.
"It's meant to be a help, not a
hindrance," said Mike Wiggins, the supervisor of instruction for
grades 9-12 for the Monroe County School System.
The biggest change for the 2012-2013
dress code is no holes. All apparel must be the appropriate length (knee length for skirts and dresses) sized with no holes and free
from rips, tears or cuts.
"They can't even be distressed or
frayed," said Wiggins. "Our principals felt like holes were the
biggest issue and the main thing they wanted to eliminate."
Not even wearing colored leggings
underneath the "holey jeans" will be up to dress code, as the
specific item is based on the pants alone.
But, the rumors are not true about
jeans not be allowed.
"Jeans are OK," said Wiggins,
noting he had received phone calls from parents who had heard rumors
only khaki pants would be allowed.
In addition, students will be allowed
to carry normal backpacks this year, instead of trying to find clear
or mesh bags.
"The principals decided it was a
burden on the parents trying to find mesh or clear backpacks," said
Wiggins. "The clear and mesh ones weren't durable and making it
through the entire year. They just wouldn't hold up. As long as it
has no symbols, a normal backpack will be acceptable this year."
A change to the dress code addressing
shirts can be confusing for some parents, however. This year, only
school logos, manufacturer logos, solid or print shirts are
"It can have a Nike swish on it, for
example, or it can be a plain shirt. School sponsored shirts,
anything that is manufactured in bulk or sports logos (University of
Tennessee, for example) are OK," said Wiggins.
If a student, however, designs a shirt
it has to be approved by the administrator. As an example, if a
students uses the school mascot on a T-shirt, but designs it to
include their name and more, it has to be approved. If it is a shirt
purchased through the school, it is acceptable. Air-brushed shirts
with writing on them also would need to be approved.
"Anything that isn't manufactured in
bulk will have to be looked at individually," said Wiggins.
As always, cargo pants will not be
allowed and this year, neither will pajama attire.
Wiggins believes the new dress code may
actually make school shopping easier and cheaper for parents.
"It's meant to be plainer so it may
actually reduce the cost of clothing shopping, as you often pay more
for items that appear distressed," he said.
Sweetwater City schools have maintained
their dress code from last year.
"We did not make any changes to our
dress code this year," said Sweetwater City Director of Schools
Melanie Miller. "We are appointing a committee, however, to gather
information and discuss possible changes for the following school
Wiggins feels the importance of a dress
code is so that both students and the schools do not lose sight of
the importance of an education.
"We don't want to forget what the
purpose of school is," he said. "Our goal is to educate our
students. We're not trying to make something that is a burden on the
parents. We want the dress code to be something that is easy to do,
where everyone has the opportunity to come and learn, and for
everyone to have a good school year."
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