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A number of parents want to serve on dress code committee

Published June 28. 2010 05:00PM

There is sufficient public interest to revise Palmerton Area School District's dress and groom policy.

The district received multiple letters of interest recently from parents who want to serve on the committee to discuss the policy.

The school board's Policy Committee has scheduled a series of meetings to discuss the policy. Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. July 1, 8, 15, and 29.

Earlier this month, the school board agreed to form a committee comprised of parents, school board policy committee members, and administrators to review the district's dress and groom policy.

The committee is expected to be comprised of 10 parents, two from each of the five school buildings in the district, four school directors, as well as administrators,

Last month, the board held a special meeting to discuss the policy, at which time it appeared as though senior high and junior high students would potentially be affected by a more stringent dress code policy next year, while students at Towamensing Elementary, S.S. Palmer Elementary, and the Parkside Education Center wouldn't.

Some of the proposed changes to the dress code policy discussed at last month's meeting as proposed at that time would not allow flip flops, no noticeable underwear, no bare midriffs, no cleavage, no sweat pants, warmups or windbreakers, heels only up to 2-inches, skirts are to be knee-length, shorts are to be no more than 2-inches, and no holes in clothing, among others.

The board held brief conversation on the matter of hair color, but no proposed changes appeared to have been made with regard to that issue.

The dress and grooming policy was discussed at a board committee meeting earlier this month, when it was decided that a special meeting was needed to revisit the matter.

Before that, the board in April held a special meeting in response to a request by junior high school Principal Thaddeus Kosciolek, who said he believed the matter needed to be revisited because instances where the dress code is violated continue to escalate.

Kosciolek also said at that time he hoped the district would consider the adoption of a dress code similar to one adopted by the Tamaqua Area School District. He said Panther Valley and Pleasant Valley school districts have also adopted new dress codes.

Larry Wittig, president of Tamaqua Area School Board, attended that special meeting to discuss the successful dress code that was implemented in the Tamaqua Area School District five years ago.

Jim Thorpe Area School District last month adopted a new dress code for its students that will go into effect at the start of next school year.

Kosciolek said that in instances where students are in violation of the dress code, parents are called and asked to bring in something else to wear. If not, the students are placed in in-school suspension, he said.

High school Principal Kathy Egan said the school has extra Palmerton Blue Bomber T-shirts, which students have the option to wear. Egan added at that time that a current problem pertains to the length of shorts worn by girls in the high school, where she said about 50 percent are not in compliance.

Based on the suggestions he heard from the committee, as well as the public who were on hand, board President Barry Scherer said the district will attempt to tighten up the policy, instill the consequences, and track the number of incidents.

The committee also discussed the possible formation of a districtwide committee to review the policy at some point. Kosciolek then asked the committee for time to come up with suggestions to make the policy more specific.

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