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Our View: A good dress code leaves plenty of wiggle room for schools

April 8, 2019

Like a bad horror movie, the discussion about the dress code in Lake Havasu Unified schools is getting a sequel.

It wasn’t quite a year ago that board members attempted to tackle the issue of legislating how kids dress — a thankless task that generations of school boards have tried over the years. This time, the issue was frayed clothing. Specifically, kids were wearing “bottoms” — usually denim jeans — that were deliberately torn or altered in some way. Most of the offending clothing, to a casual observer, isn’t that offensive. But it’s a slippery slope, and therefore a difficult conversation to have. So, last spring, board members decided to ban students from wearing torn, tattered, frayed or pants and shorts that contain holes.

Now, after nearly a full school year of living under the new rules and with two new faces on the school board, the district will reconsider its dress code again.

It’s probably worth having this discussion from time to time, however, consider that Havasu schools already had sensible rules about what students can wear to school prior to last year’s dress code “fix.” A dress code should simply provide guidelines from which school administrators can make judgment calls. If it has to change every time there’s a new fashion trend, something’s wrong.

That said, there’s a strong argument for requiring professional dress for students. If the point of education is to prepare students for the real world, then students ought to be taught how to dress. Many employers have strict rules about what employees wear each day. It makes sense that schools should too. (But it wouldn’t be Lake Havasu City if we didn’t also acknowledge casual Fridays.)

— Today’s News-Herald