By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Proper school attire, both for teachers and students, was addressed by the Water Valley School Board in their June 1 meeting. The changes were formalized, both with the adoption of a district-wide dress code for employees and with handbook changes at the elementary and high school.
The new dress code comes after several months of back-and-forth discussion with school employees about various options, and spells out a professional dress code aimed primarily at teachers.
Prior to the June 1 vote, Superintendent Sammy Higdon said the proposal had been circulated in the district.
“I didn’t get jumped on,” Higdon joked, referring to previous feed back the board had received with other proposals.
“This policy, like any other policy, does no good without enforcement,” Board President Ray Hawkins noted. “It needs to be enforced and enforced consistently and fair,” Hawkins added.
“We have kept this pretty straight forward as to what you can enforce,” Higdon added, an effort to eliminate “gray areas” with enforcement.
Provisions adopted for the teacher’s dress code include:
• All clothing should be neat, clean and in good repair;
• Clothing should not be too revealing or see through;
• Flip-flops and crocs are prohibited;
• Female teachers may wear knee-length dresses, skirts or shorts;
• Cleavage should never be shown;
• Male teachers should wear slacks and collared shirts;
• Windsuits and athletic attire are only appropriate for physical education teachers, coaches and assistant teachers;
• Blue jean pants may only be worn on “casual Fridays.”
After addressing the teachers’ dress code, the discussion then turned to handbook changes reflecting the dress code for students.
Revisions made to the high school’s dress code were approved Monday night when the student handbook was adopted. The changes include restricting any clothing that reveals cleavage; defining prohibited head gear to include headbands or similar headgear; restricting sagging britches or clothes with holes in them and requirements that skirts and shorts must be knee-length when the student is standing in a relaxed condition.
Shirts are also not allowed to extend past thigh-length and boys’ shirts must be tucked in with a belt.
Changes made to Davidson Elementary School’s handbook involving the students’ dress code included revising the length of skirts or tops worn as a skirt, which now must come to the knees.
Miniskirts with tights are prohibited as are spaghetti-strap tops with straps. The length of shorts worn by students was also amended, and now are required to extend below the fingertips.
• Other business conducted at the meeting:
• Made changes to the cell phone policy for students at the high school. The revision notes that students are permitted to possess cell phones during the school day, but they are prohibited from using them. The policy change primarily addresses disciplinary actions for violators of this policy. With the change, students caught using the phone during the school day will have their phone confiscated and school officials can retain the phone for 30 calendar days. In lieu of the 30 day confiscation, students may elect to pay a $15 fine and have the phone returned to their parent or guardian.
• Voted to enter executive session to handle personnel matters including hiring Ann Surrette as payroll consultant, Jason Langdon as athletic assistant, Angie Hodge as a math teacher, Andrew Pryor as assistant band director, Gene Dunn as a substitute bus driver, Keli Lindsey as a language arts teacher, and Ronald Jeffrey Sartor as a tutor at the Baptist Children’s Village. The board also accepted resignations for Amanda Goodwin, Gary Drewery and Brad Hayden.