No visible tattoos and no body piercings other than in the ears are among the changes to the dress codes at Polk County's middle and high schools.
The major change from the board’s July meeting was that students can have multiple ear piercings as long as they aren’t distracting in nature. Superintendent of Schools Marvin Williams said it is left up to each school’s principal what is considered distracting.
During the July meeting, board members discussed the idea of allowing students to have only one piercing per ear.
Williams also said spacers, which are hollow tunnels placed in the ear, are not permitted because they are not piercings.
Regarding visible tattoos, Williams said the board has not yet decided what they will do about a student with a visible tattoo. However, Williams said as the dress code now stands, a student would be in violation if they have a visible tattoo.
The dress code states, "students violating the dress code will not be allowed to attend class until the problem is corrected." It further reads that students who miss class time because of dress code violations will not be allowed to make up missed work.
Williams said the board will discuss what action will be taken to students with visible tattoos at a future time, probably the next board meeting.
The issue of tattoos is recent as far as Williams could remember. The meeting in July was the first time board members brought up that issue, he said.
Cedartown High School Principal Hal David said neither tattoos nor piercings have been a big problem at his school.
“We’ve had some students with piercings in their nose or eyebrow, but it hasn’t been a big problem,” David said. “Tattoos have not been an issue either."
David said he believes the students at CHS will not have a problem adjusting to the changes in the new dress code.
“Our students will rise to the level of our expectations,” David said. “The majority of students are interested in following the dress code. We have a good group of students here at CHS.”
Regardless of how students will respond to the changes, Williams said the task of settling on a dress code has been stressful.
“The board has every right to set policy and I respect their opinions,” Williams said.
He added he has the expectation to follow the wishes of the board and to see that students do so as well.
"The board takes this issue to heart as they do all other issues,” Williams said.
During the discussions, at least two different versions of the dress code were considered.
Williams said he presented a different dress code to the non-budgetary committee than the one that passed. For that dress code, he worked with principals to come up with a code that they felt would be appropriate and good for the district as well as students, but the committee did not approve it.
In a release about the dress code, the school board asks parents to cooperate with the dress code guidelines, and states that students that violate the dress code will be sent home to change.
The full student dress code for grades 6-12 follows:
1) Hats, caps or hoods may not be worn at any time inside the building unless otherwise designated by the school administrator;
2) Non-prescription sunglasses may not be worn inside;
3) Doo rags, rollers, sweat bands, nets, stockings, bandanas or any similar article will not be allowed;
4) Body piercing other than ears is not allowed;
5) No visible tattoos;
6) Hair color or hairstyle of a distracting nature is not allowed;
7) Physically revealing clothing is not allowed;
8) Clothing, markings and other items related to gang involvement are not allowed;
9) Make-up that exhibits an occult nature is not allowed;
10) Chains are not allowed;
11) Racially or politically inflammatory items are not allowed;
12) Gender specific underclothing must be worn;
13) Tops must be waist length and reveal no bare chests or bare stomachs when the student is standing or when the arms are raised. The material must be such that the body is not seen through it;
14) Muscle shirts, tank tops, backless tops, tops with spaghetti straps, halters and other tops that are physically revealing are prohibited. Sleeveless attire will be allowed as long as the upper and under arms are covered;
15) Shorts, skorts, skirts and dresses should be fingertip length or longer when standing regardless or whether leggings, tights, etc. are worn underneath. Tennis shorts, spandex shorts and boxer shorts are considered inappropriate. Shorts must be long enough to cover underwear when sitting;
16) Tight fitting, body-hugging clothing may not be worn;
17) Large and baggy clothing that does not properly cover or fit the body is prohibited;
18) Jeans and pants must be worn at/or above the hips. In the event the jeans or pants are loose, a belt must be worn;
19) Jeans and pants with tears or holes above the knee are not allowed;
20) Trench coats and overcoats must be placed in the student's locker at the beginning of the school day and may not be worn during the day (Polk County's middle and high schools are enclosed with lockers located in temperature-controlled hallways);
21) Shoes must be worn at all times;
22) Bedroom shoes and pajamas are not allowed;
23) Clothing with vulgar or profane language, racial or religious slurs, sexually suggestive placing or degrading language or graphics are prohibited (Example, Big Johnson shirts);
24) Confederate flags, unpatriotic displays of the U.S. Flag and Malcolm X insignia are prohibited;
25) Clothing advertising or displaying tobacco or alcoholic products, weapons and drugs are prohibited.
Read about the elementary schools adopting a new dress code