The Board of Education of Charles County has approved a revised student dress code for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. The new dress code, developed by the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Code of Student Conduct Committee, aims to modernize certain restrictions while emphasizing the role of parents in monitoring their child’s attire. The code also maintains the authority of school administrators to determine the appropriateness and potential disruption caused by a student’s clothing.
Chief of Schools Marvin Jones, Ed.D., presented the proposed dress code to the Board during their meeting on June 13. Dr. Jones, who led the Code of Student Conduct Committee, shared the current and approved dress code language during the presentation, which can be accessed on the CCPS website.
In preparation for the 2023-2024 school year, CCPS is in the process of updating the Code of Student Conduct to incorporate the approved changes. The updated code will be published on the school system’s website, www.ccboe.com, in July.
The Code of Student Conduct Committee, comprising various stakeholders such as school principals, teachers, parents, union representatives, bus drivers, and board members, met multiple times this spring to review the dress code, disciplinary language, and consequences outlined in the Code. Apart from the dress code, the committee also proposed several key updates for the upcoming school year’s Code of Student Conduct. These updates include a broader definition of student fighting, a clear definition of self-defense, an expanded list of weapon categories, the potential involvement of school resource officers in bullying and harassment investigations, stricter cell phone policies, and an excused absence for student illness that encompasses physical, mental, and behavioral health.
The revised dress code focuses on the appropriateness of attire for the school environment. It prohibits wearing suggestive, provocative, excessively tight clothing and any clothing that displays offensive, vulgar, harassing, or otherwise inappropriate messages or images. Additionally, clothing that is deemed disruptive by the school administration, either due to its design or how it is worn, is not permitted.
The Code of Student Conduct Committee, in collaboration with parents, staff, and community members, formulated the following dress code, which has been amended and approved by the Board of Education:
Allowable Dress & Grooming:
- Students must wear clothing that includes a shirt with pants, a skirt, an equivalent outfit, and shoes.
- Shirts and dresses must have fabric covering the front and sides.
- Clothing should cover undergarments.
- The transparent or see-through fabric covering private parts is not allowed.
- Hats and other headwear must not obstruct the face or interfere with the line of sight of students or staff. Hoodies must allow the face and ears of students to be visible at all times.
- Attire should be suitable for all scheduled classroom activities, including physical education, science labs, technical education, and other activities that pose unique hazards.
- Specialized courses may require specific attire, such as sports uniforms or safety gear.
Non-Allowable Dress & Grooming:
- Clothing may not depict, advertise, or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other controlled substances.
- Clothing may not depict pornography, nudity, sexual acts, or violence or contain obscenities.
- Clothing may not contain hate speech targeting any protected groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or others.
- Clothing may not include gang identifiers and must not threaten other students’ or staff’s health or safety.
- If a student’s attire or grooming poses a health or safety risk to others, discipline for dress code violations should align with policies for similar infractions. However, administrators can judge whether a student’s attire is disruptive, distracting, or presents a safety hazard. Exceptions to the dress code may be granted for medical or religious reasons.
To ensure a smooth transition to the new dress code, school administrators will receive updated training in August. They will also review the updated dress code with staff, students, and parents, providing them with a clear understanding of the expectations and guidelines.
The Board of Education’s approval of the revised dress code reflects a collaborative effort to create a learning environment that is conducive to academic success while maintaining a sense of professionalism and respect. By modernizing the dress code and emphasizing parental responsibility, Charles County Public Schools aims to strike a balance between student expression and the need for a productive and focused educational atmosphere.
Parents and students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the updated dress code, which will be incorporated into the 2023-2024 Code of Student Conduct, as well as the CCPS Parent Handbook/Calendar and individual school handbooks. These resources will provide comprehensive information on the expectations regarding dress and grooming for the upcoming school year.
It is important to note that the new dress code allows for flexibility in addressing unique circumstances. Administrators will consider medical or religious reasons for deviations from the dress code guidelines on a case-by-case basis. This approach ensures that individual needs are taken into account while maintaining the overall integrity and purpose of the dress code.
As Charles County Public Schools prepares for the 2023-2024 school year, the implementation of the revised dress code reflects the commitment to providing a safe, respectful, and inclusive educational environment for all students. By working together and considering the input of various stakeholders, the Board of Education and the Code of Student Conduct Committee have taken significant steps to update the dress code and promote a positive school culture in which students can thrive academically and socially.
For further details on the approved dress code language and other updates to the Code of Student Conduct, interested individuals can visit the CCPS website, www.ccboe.com, where the relevant information will be available in July.