New Castle News

September 26, 2012

New Castle Dress Code: Board says no to cargo pants, tightens rules on yoga pants

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Parents of New Castle students should think about stowing their children’s cargo pants, or saving them for playtime.

The New Castle Area School Board as a general consensus last night tweaked the district’s dress code and has agreed that cargo pants — because of the many pockets where anyone could hide weapons — are unacceptable for school.

The board also generally agreed to tighten the rules for anyone wearing yoga pants to school.

Like tights or leotards, they will be allowed only with a long top to cover the waistline and seat area, or with shorts or a skirt.

They became an issue because girls have been wearing the tight-fitting pants with short tops, which the principals have determined are too revealing for the dress code.

The board resolved to vote on the two changes at its regular meeting Oct. 10, after it met with several school principals last night who have been monitoring the dress of students, but who no longer want to be bogged down in deciding what clothing students can get away with when they see them in the hallways.

The principals asked the board for more defining terms.

Even though students typically go through metal detectors at school, cargo pants were ruled unacceptable because they have more than four pockets where things can be hidden.



COMMITTEE SUGGESTED

The principals also urged the board to consider forming a committee of parents, teachers, board members and administrators to set rules for dress for next year. Those meetings should begin after the new year sometime and would set the standards before parents shop for the students’ clothing for the following school year.

That suggestion was brought up by high school principal Richard Litrenta.

“Styles are changing so quickly,” he said. “There are 50 different kinds of girls pants we see. You need a degree in fashion.”

He believes a committee needs to review the changes in fashions for the next year in March or April, “to let parents know how to spend their money when they are shopping for school.”

Litrenta added that he would hate to see some type of turmoil with dress codes taking students’ minds off their testing and academics.



ENFORCING DRESS CODE

Board member Mary Ann Tofel said she favors the principals enforcing the dress code the way the rules are set, when the board sat and met and reviewed it all. She suggested the board has more important things to worry about than focusing on pants that students are wearing.

Yoga pants are at issue because girls are wearing them and parents can argue that they are stretch pants or leggings, which are allowed with specified conditions.

“It’s very difficult to run our day banging our heads over what kind of pants the students have on,” commented assistant junior-senior high school principal Carol Morell.

She said most of the students are assessed during first period, and repeat offenders are suspended.

Board member Dr. Marilyn Berkely suggested the words “no form fitting pants” be worked into the code.

“I wish we could go back to the black and red shirts with khaki pants, and that’s it,” board president Allan Joseph commented. “The kids looked good, they looked clean ...”

“It levels the playing field,” superintendent George Gabriel agreed.

“When we were in school, every kid wore a shirt and tie,” commented assistant high school principal Ralph Blundo.

“So did the teachers,” Joseph commented.

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