JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Students aboard local bases will soon be required to conform to a revised dress code, released on Thursday.
After being discussed among parents, students and faculty for months, the formally approved dress code serves to promote a safe, positive learning environment and to establish reasonable standards of health and decency in all schools, according to the policy.
“I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t go to a uniform,” said Jennifer McCarthy, a mother of three school-age children who attend Camp Lejeune schools. “I really wish we could have gone to something like polo shirts and khaki pants. I understand why we are doing it this way, but I think it could have been done better. It would have been much easier to buy uniforms than to find clothing that fits their criteria.”
The code requires students to dress appropriately in clean clothing and have clean and well-groomed hair. Clothing, according to the policy, cannot depict or contain implied acts of profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, violence, gore, sex, lewdness, gang affiliation or inappropriate language. Also prohibited is clothing that contains images of weapons, tobacco, drugs, alcohol or illegal substances, according to the policy. Underwear and cleavage must remain covered, as must the skin between the upper torso and three inches above the knee. All dresses, skirts, skorts and shorts may be no shorter than three inches above the knee.
Other rules include a prohibition on s leeveless shirts worn as outgarments and blouses with shoulder straps less than three inches wide for middle and high school students (the minimum width is two inches for elementary school students). See-through or mesh garments may only be worn with undergarments that adhere to the shoulder strap requirements, according to the policy.
Pants, skirts and shorts must be worn at waist level and excessively tight clothing such as Spandex tops or pants, yoga-style pants or leggings may not be worn. Excessively baggy clothing, sleepwear, swimwear and provocative apparel are prohibited.
Sunglasses, hats, headphones and bandanas are also not allowed under the new policy. House slippers, flip flops resembling shower shoes and shoes with wheels are in violation of the policy. Jewelry that is excessively long or contains large pendants or medallions, is gang-related, has spikes or sharp edges also cannot be worn in school.
“I look forward to when they will implement a uniform dress code in the future,” McCarthy said. “It’s easier for parents, students and teachers. I understand it’s a process but I feel like there is still so much grey area and it’s a lot of work for the teachers to enforce this policy.”
Mother-of-two Jacqueline Ward, 27, of Tarawa Terrace, feels as though the dress code is a little too vague and leaves too much room for interpretation, especially regarding what is appropriate.
“I think a dress code fits better in the high school because I don’t see issues in the middle school now,” Ward said. “Whenever I pick my kids up at school, I never see kids dressing inappropriately. I see hats as the biggest issue, where they may not take them off immediately in school.”
Because parents were given ample time to voice their opinion, Ward feels as though the dress code took parents’ opinions into consideration. While people may not agree with some of the restrictions, they must realize that the school board was drafting this policy for the benefit of the children and their education, she said.
The kids will benefit because they can focus more on their school work in the classroom and not be distracted by inappropriate or revealing clothing, she said.
Students in violation of the dress code will be responsible for changing as soon as the violation is identified. If the student cannot correct the problem, parents will be called to provide a second set of clothing. For students who violate the dress code a second time, after-school detention will be mandatory. Subsequent violations will result in more serious disciplinary actions that were not specified in the policy.
School officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
To view the Camp Lejeune District School’s dress code, visit am.dodea.edu.