One school district in Virginia has grown tired of arguments about uniforms and decided to break student dress code norms that some think are unfairly strict on girls. The public schools in Roanoke County introduced a single gender-neutral dress code for all of its students for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Roanoke County School Board decided on its new dress code after it conducted a massive survey: 59 percent of 1,370 parents gave the board the thumbs up to go ahead with its plan and introduce standards for a dress code that’s the same for everyone, no matter their gender.
Roanoke County Public Schools introduced their new guidelines for students’ dress code for the upcoming school year
Image credits: Roanoke County School
According to the new Roanoke County guidelines, during the upcoming school year, every single student needs to wear clothes that cover the area from armpit to armpit, down to 3-4 inches in length on the upper thighs. Meanwhile, the top part of the clothes needs to have straps. Everyone had a part in drafting the new rules, from parents and teachers to students themselves.
Some people believe girls’ clothing in schools is regulated far more harshly than boys’ clothes ever will be. Girls are called in to see the principal due to their clothing not fitting school norms. The reasons for getting into trouble sometimes might seem random and arbitrary, and girls are often punished for wearing undergarments showing ‘too much’ skin or wearing ‘sexualized’ clothing.
“We wanted to develop a dress code that is easier for parents and students to understand and is equally applicable to all students,” Chuck Lionberger, the media spokesperson for the Roanoke County School District, told Bored Panda. “This new dress code removes much of the ambiguity over what is appropriate, while also allowing students more flexibility to be expressive in an appropriate manner,”
“We have been working on this new dress code for about a year. Following an extensive effort to gather input from students, parents, principals and teachers, through surveys and focus groups, we collected this data to develop a draft dress code to present to the school board. The board suggested some adjustments and after implementing these changes, the board approved the dress code on July 11.”
Lionberger added that “this dress code will remain in place until the next time we feel we need to make adjustments. Every few years, we revisit our dress code to make sure it is current and reflects the interests of students and parents.”
The new dress code was created to be gender-neutral, after careful deliberation between students, parents and teachers
Image credits: ACLU of Virginia
“The old dress codes we had and that many schools have today single out girls for bra straps and undergarments and many things girls wear,” Don Butzer, the Chairman of the Roanoke County School Board told Today Style.
“The new policy is probably the most progressive in Virginia,” claimed Butzer. “Our goal was to make it as simple as possible.”
Some people believe that the dress code adopted by Roanoke County Public Schools should become mandatory everywhere in the United States
Image credits: Shelby Henderson
Meanwhile, Roanoke County Public Schools superintendent Ken Nicely told Yahoo Lifestyle that they are “promoting a school and classroom climate in which all students have a sense of belonging and inclusiveness.”
“Adopting a more gender-neutral dress code is an important part of helping us achieve that goal,” said Nicely.
Please watch the video below to get a better understanding of the changes taking place in Virginia
The old Roanoke County Public Schools’ uniform guidelines from 2016 stated that shorts and skirt length should be no higher than mid-thigh, undergarments (including bra straps), cleavage, or midriffs should not be exposed, while shoes are required at all times.
Furthermore, the Roanoke County School Board had previously banned sleeves with oversized armholes, see-through garments, torn, or ripped clothing, oversized clothing, shirts with spaghetti straps, tube tops, pajamas, bedroom slippers, metal chains, accessories with spikes, dog chains or collars, sunglasses and headgear.