Students Proposed Revised Dress Code
To enhance the learning of the Three Rs, some students Monday proposed a revised, but still modest, dress code for the Natrona County School District that starts by covering the Four Bs.
"As a general rule, all clothing items must cover the four Bs, which are breasts, belly, back and buttocks," Natrona County High School senior Jordan Yates said at the school board's meeting Monday.
"We felt that was a pretty fair standard, and teachers (we talked to) felt that was pretty appropriate for school," Yates said.
The rest of the proposed revisions, she said, were similar to those adopted by the board in June, such as no slippers; no pajamas; and no clothing or personal items that are racist or sexist, promote drugs, alcohol or tobacco, and are vulgar in interpretation.
The revisions included a method of dealing with those who violate it by having administrators resolve the problem during non-class periods, Yates said. "A student's education is worth more than their adherence to the dress code," she said.
The board's approval of the dress code, designed to be consistent throughout the district, received few comments during its proposal in May, adoption in June, and likewise throughout the summer.
But two weeks ago, the board released a video that went viral illustrating what is and is not appropriate. Many students said this caught them by surprise.
Tricity Marie Guerra started the Facebook page, "Defiance against Natrona County dress code" that now has more than 2,400 members.
Reactions were all over the place, with some students vowing they would violate the dress code on the first day of class, Sept. 2, while some saying the issue was overblown, and still others wanting to change the dress code.
Monday, 16 people spoke during the public comment period at the beginning of the board of trustees meeting.
Nearly all of them opposed the code, with several endorsing the revisions proposed by Yates.
Some students said tank tops should be allowed because the air conditioning at Kelly Walsh High School especially does not work well.
Some said they had a right to self-expression and the district's dress code will detract from that.
One male students said it was ridiculous to think that a girl wearing a top that exposed the shoulders would somehow distract him from his studies.
A student who graduated two years ago and now is a manager of a hotel in Gillette said he dressed casually when he attended Natrona County High School. He now wears a suit and tie every day and doesn't buy the argument that not dressing somewhat professionally in school will ill-prepare students for the work force.
On the other hand, former student Ashley Christopherson commended the school board for the new dress code and the impact it will have on the students. "Confidence will increase as they dress more modestly."
And Guerra, who founded the Facebook page, invoked the law. A 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District ruled that students did not give up their First Amendment rights when they wore black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam.
At the end of the meeting Board Chairman Dave Applegate and other trustees complimented the students for speaking, however, the board would not be making any changes to the dress code at Monday's meeting.
But that didn't mean the matter was closed, either, Applegate said. "We could open that policy back up."