Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — After 40 years, Baltimore County school leaders say it’s time to rewrite its dress code policy. Gigi Barnett explains why the district fast-tracked the new policy in time for the school year.
The last time Baltimore County school leaders changed their student dress code was in 1968. The district says times have changed and so has fashion.
“Anything you can think of that would probably not be appropriate for a learning environment, we’ve seen on children,” said Patsy Holmes.
Parents have seen it, too.
“I’ve seen kids coming out of school and they look like little adults,” said Susan Collier.
“They look too much like adults and I don’t like that,” said one student.
School leaders don’t, either. So the challenge of changing the dress code fell under Patsy Holmes’ office. She’s the director of student support services. Now anything that’s vulgar, offensive or sexual in nature is out. So are gang signs on clothes and anything that would suggest drug and tobacco use. Even bare feet are banned.
“Principals have been trying to enforce this without a policy rule to support it,” said Holmes.
And if it’s not in writing, the district says there’s a loophole around it.
“I remember girls that used to dress one way when they left the house and change when they left the house,” said one mother.
What’s more: Holmes says increasingly younger children are showing up at school with risque and offensive clothing that’s causing a stir in class.
“Oftentimes, it’s viewed by other students as inappropriate or it makes them feel uncomfortable around it,” Holmes said.
Every student will receive a student handbook on August 29, the first day of school.