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DCPS Toughens Dress Policies

School principals have the right to establish mandatory uniform policies and get tougher with students who violate existing dress codes, under an emergency rule posted on the D.C. Register today by DCPS.

Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Michelle Rhee, said the rule was in response to widespread interest expressed by parents. "We believe that the rules should be adapted to accommodate their desires," she said.

There was no explanation from school officials this evening as to why the measure was handled as an emergency rule, which means it is effective immediately. The posting in the Register said it was "necessary to ensure preservation of the public welfare in general" and "to promote safe and secure schools."

School discipline and safety issues have gained renewed attention this year. Rhee has proposed a revision of the existing disciplinary code, which was also posted--on a non-emergency basis--on the Register Friday.

The uniform measure repeals a section of the D.C. Municipal Regulations that includes "personal determination of appearance, including styles of hair and dress," as constitutionally protected speech for students.

In addition to authorizing principals to establish mandatory uniform policies, it sets up a more comprehensive set of sanctions for students who violate rules already in place. They include "progressive corrective measures" that allow for in-school suspension on fourth offense. For more than four violations, a student could be transferred to an alternative school.

A number of schools already have dress codes, although it's not known exactly how many. The new Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School, for example, requires uniforms.

By Bill Turque  |  March 27, 2009; 9:05 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque  
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Under normal circumstances I see DCPS students wearing their collared button-down shirts, polo shirts, sweaters, rugby shirts and similar dressy wear on the metro cussing like drunken sailors.

I am not aware that in any school dress was an issue.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 28, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

STOP!!! the sagging pants. It comes out of prison culture and has no place in public schools.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 30, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The sagging pants are strictly 1997. If any kid is still wearing them, heaven help that poor nerd.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 30, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse


So the kids are getting the dress code...but has anyone seen the custodian crew lately or better yet the young-innovative teaching corps... I must say their wardrobe is something to be desired. I don't want even to address the cafeteria workers, security guards and the front office employees all are at a level of dissatisfaction. Yeah, the uniform policy is going to cure all that ails DCPS...has anyone checked to see what college has incorporated a dress-code policy? Let me see priests have a dress code policy as well as police but both have unwanted and shady characters amongst their workforce. So, I am saying just because you put on a color-coordinated outfit on the kid...if they want to beat the heck out of you and fail classes then he/she will be dressed appropriately.

We all remembered the "best-dressed" students of yester-year and we all remember the most-likely to succeed students and more than likely they were not the same student.

It will just give every business owner an opportunity to sale the clothing for will see school uniforms on sale at the carry-outs...get your fried chicken-wings with mumbo sauce and a pair khakis and a polo shirt for $20.00

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 30, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I thought problems were solved inwardly, as in spiritually, rather than outwardly by changing one's garments.

Posted by: starclimber9 | March 30, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The kids at the Woodson 9th grade academy who threw books at teachers wear uniforms.

Posted by: efavorite | March 31, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

This decision required no thiught. Many schools have already adopted a uniform policy. Now that they will dressed appropriately, how do you stop them from beating up their teachers and being truant? Additionally, I'd like to see all of central dress professionally. It's getting warm and central execs have been seen wearing flipflops at 825. Start at the top! Rule by example!

Posted by: candycane1 | March 31, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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