SMITHFIELD – Smithfield school administrators have said they have higher priorities than making sure students adhere to a strict dress code as they announced relaxed dress code rules at the school committee meeting in last Monday evening.
Smithfield High School principal Dan Kelley said students are now allowed to wear shirts with spaghetti straps under the new rules. They can also wear hoodies and hats that cover their heads as long as the students are not wearing headphones and are concentrating on the lesson.
âWe have to adapt to the times we live in,â Kelley said.
He said the last school year had been tough and “kids wearing hats were not high on my priority list.” He said children should be able to express themselves in a way that makes them feel more comfortable, despite the comfort level of administrators.
âNo one is dead. No one has failed a test with a hat. The children were much happier because they could express who they were, âhe said.
Kelley said the only downside to the hooded style is that it allows students to become less engaged, so the district has compromised to allow hoods as long as a student’s face and ears are visible.
Member Benjamin Caisse expressed concern about the social and emotional isolation that comes from wearing a balaclava, but said it is passable as long as teachers can supervise students.
According to the dress code, students should dress appropriately for the school day or events, and the dress code should not marginalize or oppress a group on the basis of race, gender, identity or expressions of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type and size.
The basic requirement is that âcertain parts of the bodyâ must be covered at all times, including the genitals, buttocks and stomach with an opaque fabric. He adds that although the cleavage is “generally acceptable”, the breasts and nipples should be covered.
Students should wear a shirt with pants or a skirt or shorts and shoes. Footwear should be specific to the activity, including closed-toe shoes for science labs or athletic shoes for physical education.
School committee chair Virginia Harnois expressed concern that some women’s shorts went “too far on the short side.”
âAfter going to school here in the early ’70s, when hot pants were all the rage, they didn’t get much shorter than these,â replied Richard Iannitelli.
In elementary school, students must wear closed shoes with a strap on the back due to daily recess. Harnois said she had previously tried to prevent students from wearing flip flops at senior levels and that “the students almost lynched me.”
Member Rose Marie Cipriano agreed with Harnois and said that flip flops are a safety concern and it is appropriate to restrict them to the basic level.
Students may wear hooded sweatshirts, with a hood over them (although this is not encouraged), as long as the face and ears are visible. The district is also allowing tank tops, including those with spaghetti straps, for the first time this year.
Supt. Judy Paolucci explained that many more chic dresses today are made with spaghetti straps and said the old codes where the straps have to be two fingers wide are obsolete. She explained that when looking at case law and dress codes, the focus was on gender neutrality and the protection of religious expression.
âThis is to make sure that nothing in your dress code prevents someone from expressing their religious beliefs. It’s very specific, âsaid Paolucci.
Tailored pants are also permitted, including opaque leggings, religious headwear, yoga pants, skinny jeans, ripped jeans and sportswear, as well as undergarment belts or suspenders visible under clothes.
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Students can wear forward or backward facing hats that allow staff to be seen and do not interfere with a student’s or staff member’s line of sight.
Students may not wear clothing with violent images or language, referring to drugs, alcohol, vaping or paraphernalia, articles with hate speech, profanity or pornography, or articles with images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for a protected or marginalized group.
Students are prohibited from wearing bulletproof vests, bulletproof vests, tactile equipment or any other facsimile, as well as items that reveal visible underwear, accessories that could be considered a weapon. or items that obscure the face or ears (except for religious observance or personal protection). equipment).
In the event of a dress code violation, students may be asked to put on their own change of clothes if available, offered school clothes or parents may be asked to bring a change of clothes, according to the code.