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Our Views: Tighter standard ends the dress code discussion

September 1, 2018

On Sept. 18, parents are students invited to the 6 p.m. meeting of the Lake Havasu Unified School District’s governing board to discuss the district’s dress code for students.

School board President John Masden put the topic on the meeting agenda so the board can hear from both supporters and detractors of the code.

Further discussion is all well and good, but perhaps it’s time to move on to a tighter standard that will close the dress code chapter once and for all. The board, administrators, students and parents have bigger fish to fry than to spend time on this subject again.

The dress code was an issue on the first day of school this year when 40-some Lake Havasu High School deliberately wore “bottoms” that were torn or altered in some way. The clothing violated the district’s rules about the condition of bottoms first outlined in the student handbook for the 2017-18 school year. Letters were also sent to parents explaining the rules last year.

The stunt organized by the students for the first day of school was met with after-school detention for them. A few students again wore “illegal” bottoms the next day and got detention for their efforts.

We understand the youthful exuberance behind defying authority. It’s a powerful way for kids to bond. But school is not the place to exercise defiance.

We appreciate that LHUSD School Superintendent Diane Asseier went to bat for the kids when she was quoted in this newspaper recently. She finds school uniforms “too restrictive. They need some freedom to dress how they want, in a way that’s comfortable for them,” she said.

Board President Madsen also rejects full uniforms. But he makes a good point when when he explained why he supports some uniformity for students. “Their professional title is ‘student’ and their clothing should reflect that,” he said.

It’s time to embrace khaki pants, shorts and skirts. The easy-care fabric comes in a variety of shades and wears like iron. Khaki takes a good beating from repeated washings. A school uniform policy with strict rules gives teachers and administrators a way to teach discipline that our students absolutely will need later on in life.

Outside of school, there’s plenty of time on nights, weekends and breaks for students to dress any which way they choose.

— Today’s News-Herald