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March 28, 2014
Dear District 65 Families,
This letter is being written in response to the controversy over the dress code at Haven Middle School. On March 17, an article was posted on patch.com claiming the school had banned leggings and yoga pants because they were considered ‘too distracting for boys.’ Despite being based primarily on misinformation, the story went viral and the students, parents, staff, and administration of Haven Middle School found themselves the subject of a world-wide debate.
The school administration has done everything in its power to put rumors that leggings, yoga pants, and “skinny” jeans have been banned to rest. The same dress code remains in place since the fall of this school year and states that “if leggings are worn, a shirt, shorts, or skirt worn over them must be fingertip length.” In a continued effort to dispel any rumors and to ensure consistency and enforcement of the school dress code, the administration held a collaborative meeting with parents and teachers; dress code was reviewed with students during homeroom; and a parent letter was sent.
Concerns over the dress code and the impact it has on body image and societal views of boys and girls have been raised by several parents. The enforcement of the dress code is not, and never has been, in response to the perceived distraction certain clothing may or may not cause and is not a mechanism in which to place blame. The school dress code is enforced in an effort to maintain a respectful learning environment for all – an environment where teachers can teach and students can learn. Unfortunately, this controversy and attention over dress code has shifted the focus off of where it should be – the education and overall development of our Haven Middle School students.
However, please understand that the school administration remains extremely sensitive to the above concerns. In response, Principal Roberson has met with Haven parents and staff to review resources and discuss opportunities to build student and staff awareness and understanding around these important topics. The Board of Education and district administration also recognize the need to have meaningful dialogue surrounding student dress code and in developing and implementing a clear set of guidelines as well as standardized enforcement procedures across the district. Student Dress Code is an agenda item at the Policy Meeting of the Board of Education on April 1, at 6 PM, at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center.
The great deal of attention over the school dress code has begun to take an unnecessary toll on the teachers, administration, students, and parents at Haven Middle School. We wanted to take this opportunity to offer our support to the school community and ask that the focus remain on the education of our Haven Middle School students in a respectful and safe learning environment.
Chief Administrative Officer