High school is when many young people explore their identities through experimenting with personal style. This won't be the case for students in the Shamokin Area School District in Pennsylvania, which has instituted strict and thorough guidelines on what is acceptable dress and appearance.
The district is implementing dress code revisions that will immediately impact middle school students and will be enforced for high school students next year. This timetable will give older students time to adjust to the new rules, says Superintendent James T. Zack.
PennLive reports the new restrictions include:
- Piercings of the lip, tongue and nose are no longer allowed, with the exception of ears.
- Beads, dog collars, heavy chains on outer garments, spiked jewelry and temporary dental caps are now forbidden. Tattoos with offensive language are also not welcome.
- Pants can only be khaki, navy, black or gray. Tops may be any color as long as they are collared.
- Graphic tees depicting any brands, such as Nike, are also not allowed.
These rules will also be applied to teachers and staff.
A check conducted by PennLive reveals these dress code restrictions are not being applied by neighboring Pennsylvania school districts. The Shamokin District is attempting to be proactive, claiming that body piercings and flamboyant clothes are a distraction.
“The administration and/or teaching staff may require that students remove any jewelry or adornments if the manner in which they are worn or displayed are not appropriate and pose a danger to the safety or welfare of the student, other students, or staff an may pose a threat of interruption of the educational process,” says Zack. “We feel we will have a better learning experience.”
The changes are scheduled to begin Sept. 8, when the Shamokin Area Junior High School begins classes. This start date may be pushed back amid teacher threats to go on strike over contract disputes, WNEP reports.
Conservative dress codes often come under heavy criticism. Students nationwide complain the rules restrict their individuality and that policies often target females, reports The Guardian.