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Concern Over Dress Code Policy Clarified

Cassie Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief

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Several students this summer questioned the Westerly High School dress code that bans leggings.

A notice was sent in the mail two weeks before the start of school by the Westerly Public Schools administration stating students were prohibited to wear leggings. Many girls and teachers are familiar with this article of clothing, but for those who are unaware, leggings are tight-fitting, stretch pants.

Many were confused and angered by this newly emphasized rule and some took to their private social media pages to discuss their concerns. Senior Dee Tucker even created a petition with the help of a common petition website Change.org.

Tucker explained why she brought this concern to the internet.  “[I wanted] to have people aware and to build an army of supporters… It’s better to have more people on your side versus one person complaining.” Tucker created the petition due to the belief the dress code policy is overly focused “on the female body” and helps create the idea that girls can be “distracting objects.”

Her viewpoint is not an outlier as the dress code petition provoked 703 supporters over the past week. Many comment how leggings are affordable, comfortable and realistic, not a distracting garment as noted in the handbook and letter sent home. Although the letter sent home was updated, the handbook was not changed this 2017 school year and remains the same until further notice.

Westerly High School Principal, Todd Grimes, clarified that the dress code has remained the same as previous years. Mr. Grimes would like the students and parents to “understand what the intent of dress codes is not to strip anybody of their individuality and not to take away people’s rights.” He also stated, ”there is no change” from last year and had made this statement on the first day of the 2017 school year for the student and staff body.

If there are any problems that seem confusing or strange to a student, Mr. Grimes is open-minded and can help the situation more efficiently when the problems are brought to him directly.  As long as students, male and female, are appropriately covered there is no new issue.

Westerly Public Schools “does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, color or disability” as documented in all handbooks.

After some confusion on the topic of the dress policy, Mr. Grimes would like everyone to be aware that garments of any clothing are allowed as long as they are appropriate.  He does not want any student whatsoever to feel uncomfortable or stifled when expressing themselves and trying to achieve the best education possible to create a positive path in life.

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Concern Over Dress Code Policy Clarified