Committee to eliminate code confusion

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 6, 1999

How long do shorts have to be? What color pants should I buy? For parents and students, dress code requirements often lead to confusion.

This school year was no exception for students at Natchez High School.

So the district now plans to meet with local vendors to talk about what items they can order. It is also forming a committee to discuss what to include in next year’s dress code.

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&uot;We still want to keep uniforms and dress codes in our district because they work,&uot; said Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

Kmart manager Jeanie Walker said she receives a list of approved clothes each year to assist in ordering.

She thinks the meeting may improve communication between the stores and the district.

By January 2000, district officials should provide parents with the latest dress code information.

Davis believes this will give parents time to make purchases and maybe avoid some of the problems that took place this year.

On the first day of school, more than 30 high school students did not meet some aspect of the district’s dress code, Davis said.

&uot;All we are seeking is that we have a nice presentation of these students,&uot; said Natchez High School Principal Brenda Williams.

Some students wore logos on their shirts or had unapproved pants colors. Others wore cargo pants and some girls wore shorts that were not long enough.

Some of the girls complained that it was difficult to find shorts that were knee-length like the rules required, Williams said.

And students wore all shades of brown pants, and not just traditional khaki.

Although, these rules were in the district’s handbook, students did not receive these until the start of the school year.

And in past years, the district allowed students to get away with not following some of these rules.

Davis said he regrets not informing parents about the changes prior to the fall.

&uot;I did not want to punish the parents for something we did not do,&uot;&160;Davis said.

For this reason, the school agreed to modify its policy to allow the items that caused confusion this year, Davis said.

The new committee will hold its first meeting in October and will discuss all the facets of the dress code.

For example, &uot;we are going to talk about how much of a disturbance is a logo,&uot; Davis said.

Even though the district decided to relax the code this year, officials think it still benefits the campus.

&uot;Having a dress code like this is still a very positive impact on our school environment,&uot; Williams said.

The Rev. John Scott, a past PTA president, had not heard about this year’s confusion, but he is glad the students have a dress code.

&uot;I like the dress code,&uot; Scott said. &uot;I think it has helped.&uot;

Students are able to focus on education and not what they are wearing, he said.

Christina Walter, a senior at Natchez High, said the district changes the rules too often. Specifics on types of shirts and colors of pants aren’t often provided until a student shows up wearing them, she said.

&uot;I really don’t think many people care about the uniform.&uot; Walter said. &uot;But they are so picky and they want to make up the rules as they go along.&uot;