New dress code policy approved by Natchez-Adams School District

Published 11:42 pm Sunday, May 28, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — When school begins next August, the student body of the Natchez-Adams School District will look more uniform and less colorful.

The Natchez-Adams School Board unanimously passed a new district dress code last week.

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The new requirements would go into effect in the fall for the 2017-18 school year.

Natchez-Adams Public Relations Coordinator Steven Richardson said the new dress code reduced the number of colors students are allowed to wear.

“The dress code passed (last week) decreased the number of different color shirts and specified the pants color,” Richardson said.

Shirt colors that meet the new dress code are navy blue, royal blue and white shirts for the district and royal blue and gray shirts for the Natchez Early College Academy.

Previously, the district allowed more than half a dozen colors, including gold and purple, Richardon said.

The new dress code calls for “Light-colored khaki,” “sand-colored khaki” and navy blue pants, shorts or skorts. Shorts and skorts are only permitted for student from kindergarten through fifth grade.

The dress code outlines the only acceptable form of attire approved to be worn by district students.

The new dress code states, “Every component of the student attire should be appropriate in length and/or size. Appropriate is defined as that which properly covers the body and which is in good taste as determined by school administration.”

Shirts must be tucked in at all times and for both male and female students, pants must fit — they cannot be baggy or loose, the code states.

Heavy coats and jackets are not restricted, but should also sport the recommended colors.

The district policy suggests it helps promote safety within the school, to decrease incidences of peer pressure based on student dress and to create a more positive learning experience.

“I find that when children wear uniforms, there’s more discipline,” board member Thelma Newsome said at last week’s board meeting.

Natchez High School principal Ernest “Tony” Fields said administrators are looking forward to the dress code next year.

“There won’t be as many colors, we’ll look more (like we’re) together,” Fields said. “We’re doing it now to give parents and students plenty of notice, and we can focus on instruction.”

Fields said a stricter dress code makes parents’ lives less stressful, since they will not have to go out to buy expensive designer clothes.

Principals will have final say in decisions about the appropriate length or size of clothing. All teachers will monitor student dress and send those students who, in their opinion, are dressed inappropriately to the principal.

Principals of a given school may designate days each nine weeks as a special day on which students would be allowed to wear school spirit shirts with jeans.

The policy states that students can receive a waiver to the mandatory uniform dress code on the basis of religious reasons and to do so, a statement must be provided by the student’s religious leader.

Examples of what a student may be permitted to wear include a hijah (Islamic), turban (Sikh), yarmulke (Jewish), bonnet and cape dress (Mennonite), or shuka (Masai).

The policy includes consequences for non-compliance, beginning with office referral or in-school suspension, which can lead up to a fourth offense of three to five days of out-of-school suspension.