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Oxford School District amends student dress code policy

The Oxford School District made revisions to its dress code policy and intends to further examine it, following Monday’s regular Board of Trustees meeting.

The school board unanimously voted to amend the policy, which was last reviewed around seven years ago with the intention of implementing uniforms. The idea of uniforms never came to fruition, and amid recent comments from teachers and administration regarding the current dress code, the Board decided to make the changes.

OSD superintendent Brian Harvey noted he received feedback from community members and teachers over the last 18 months that the district was not enforcing the policy.

“(The policy was reviewed) under the lens of school uniforms, if I remember correctly,” Harvey said during the meeting. “Nothing was done with the policy. The principals were charged with enforcing what was on the books. We thought we could do that and we moved forward.”

Some of the changes to the policy included removing phrases and wording that administrators were having trouble following. Some of those phrases included “Hair should be neat and clean and should not obstruct vision. Rollers, combs, and picks shall not be worn in the hair,” and “Sagging pants worn below the waist are not allowed. Pajama pants are not allowed.”

Other changes to the policy language were geared toward female students. One line that was removed from the dress code read, “To be acceptable, shorts and skirts must be hemmed and must extend beyond the fingertips when a student extends the arms down.” Another line removed pertained to “excessively tight-fitting clothing.”

The Board replaced that language with one line, which reads, “All clothing must be of appropriate length and fit.”

“We’re forced into a position of, ‘Do we strictly enforce the policy? And if we do, is the policy a good policy?’” Harvey said. “After reviewing the policy, we saw some things that were certainly out of date and were certainly targeted at certain groups of individuals that we needed to remove.”

A committee comprised of students, teachers, administrators and community members will be formed to analyze the school district’s dress code policy further. The approved changes made on Monday will take affect immediately.

The committee, which will be overseen by assistant superintendent Bradley Roberson, should have a report ready to be viewed during an April or May Board meeting, according to Harvey. The changes were put into a parent newsletter the school district sent out on Tuesday.