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Durham Public Schools Board votes to update dress code

The County Durham School Board voted unanimously Thursday night to make significant changes to its dress code, ending an era when students were sometimes shamed to show off a misplaced bra strap, banned from wearing cultural hairstyles, and asked to cover such mundane body parts as shoulders so that male students and teachers don’t cause him to be distracted.”

The new dress code is designed to be more inclusive and permissive of individual expression, recalling guidelines that many felt disproportionately targeted—and were more frequently enforced for—women, students of color, and students with curvier body types.

“Why are guys allowed to wear basketball [tank tops]but [women are] considered a distraction because we have bigger torsos or our dresses are short? a student asked in a Riverside High School Student Newspaper January Podcast. “Why are you looking? It’s not our problem.

Students are now allowed to wear most clothing, as long as it is opaque and covers their “private spaces”. The new dress code abolished the famous “fingertip rule”, which required that any skirt or shorts extend beyond the fingertips of a student’s outstretched arm (and varied wildly by body type); it allows tank tops, crop tops, leggings, yoga pants, and ripped jeans; and it no longer penalizes students for showing bra straps or underwear waistbands.

The code expressly allows students to “dress and style their hair for school in a way that expresses their individuality and culture,” including hairstyles and traditionally black hair coverings like locs, braids and the freezes that have been disputed in recent years; Last year, for example, a Hillside High School softball player was forced to cut her beaded braids in the middle of a game when the referee ruled the hairstyle inappropriate.

Clothing and jewelry that depict profanity or violence remain prohibited, as will items that encourage the use of illegal substances, indicate gang affiliation, or display discriminatory or hateful images like Confederate flags or swastikas. . While the new code was originally written to allow hats and hoodies, they will be banned in the final version of the code due to feedback from school administrators.


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