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Palmerton continues to fine tune dress code policy

Published October 05. 2011 05:01PM

Palmerton Area School District continues in vain to fine tune its dress code policy.

The board of school directors at a workshop on Tuesday reviewed additional tweaks to the policy that once approved, would go into effect for the rest of the 2011-12 school year.

Director Darlene Yeakel, who chairs the Committee, said the purpose of the changes is to "make the policy a little more understandable."

"We're going to keep the same policy in place [for the rest of the school year]," Yeakel said. "We're just cleaning up some of the wording."

Among some of the proposed changes - though the exact wording may differ in some instances - include:

- Under guidelines, applicability, the insertion of the phrase, "with the guidelines of their parents", students have the responsibility to dress appropriately and to keep themselves, their clothes, and their hair clean.

- The following list identifies "appropriate" items of dress and grooming, and deletes the phrase "that are acceptable in school during the school day".

- Adds no "sliders", and deletes "soft sole"

- No clothing "which has been torn, ripped or cut in any way that bares anatomy or makes clothing overly suggestive or revealing or reveals undergarments"

- Jeans, skinny jeans, khakis, sweat pants and dress pants are permitted. Leggings, if worn "under" an article of clothing that complies with the dress code are permitted.

- "Gages must be capped".

As part of the discussion, Director Susan Debski remained adamant that the current policy is subjective.

"I have a problem, because it's not working," Debski said. "We're giving the superintendent the delegation to enforce this, and it's coming back to [the building principals] for their interpretation."

Board President Barry Scherer said he believes the board has "tried to clear up some of the problems with the interpretation."

"I think the message the board has sent is this is it, deal with it," Scherer said. "I think everything we changed should resolve every issue the people had at the last meeting."

Resident Audrey Larvey, a retired teacher, asked the board to make certain they're comfortable with the changes.

"It's interpretation, when the administrators hear this, they all have to be clear and understand the same thing so there is consistency in how this is enforced," Larvey said. "They then have to adequately and accurately communicate this to their faculty."

The changes come on the heels of last week's Policy Committee meeting in which recommendations were made to help resolve the issue.

At that time, Superintendent Carol Boyce shared statistics that were gathered by high school administration and noted there were several primary areas of concern: torn, cut, or ripped clothing; inappropriate tops; improper footwear; and see-through garments.

From Aug. 30 through Sept. 16, Boyce said there were 72 infractions that pertained to torn, cut or ripped clothing; 54 for inappropriate tops; 28 for improper footwear; 16 for body piercings; 15 for skirts/pants worn at a length more than 3-inches; seven each for spandex and exposed undergarments/ nightwear; six for outerwears being worn; and four for oversized or too tight clothing.

Boyce said it was the policy committee's task to make recommendations to the board for potential changes to the current policy.

Both high school Principal Kathy Egan and junior high Principal Thaddeus Kosciolek said at that time the matter needed to be addressed.

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