Board members discussed whether the wearing of spandex should be banned from schools at the Liberty County Board of Education’s Tuesday morning meeting.
The discussion took place while members were reviewing proposed changes to the Liberty County School system’s code of conduct for the 2017-18 school year.
The system’s handbook is updated each year to include new clubs and school standards.
Dr. Kathy Moody, executive director of student services, said school governance teams, principals, teachers and community members submitted ideas, then a district-level committee went through the ideas before making recommendations to the board.
One proposed revision read “No denim, jogging, or cargo pants, leggings or material containing spandex Lycra allowed.”
The revision of last year’s code removed a ban on “skinny pants” and “skater pants.”
Board members were hesitant to ban spandex across the board.
“If you go to the store to buy a pair of pants, jeans, everything, they all have
spandex in them now,” school board member Carol Guyett said. “I don’t know whose going to check the material but they all have spandex pretty much.”
Moody said committee members went back and forth over that issue, raising concerns over how to check for the material and principals being uncomfortable doing it.
“I think that maybe if we’re worrying about pants being too tight, you address that instead of the material,” Guyett said.
Board member Carolyn Smith Carter said the board needs to use caution on using words like “form-fitting” and “tight.”
“If I’m pleasingly plump my clothes aren’t going to fit on me like it would when I used to be 90 pounds,” Carter said. “So when you start talking about tight, and a teacher approaches a student and says ‘You’re wearing your dress too tight’ you’re legally on shaky ground. You cannot make judgments like that when it comes to students. Everybody is not the same shape, everyone is not built the same way.”
Carter recalled times when pencil skirts were considered to be tight, and teachers having to measure mini-skirts from the knee cap to the hem and how boys weren’t allowed to grow their hair past their shirt collar.
“I think we’re going back to the ridiculous and I’ve been through it all,” Carter said. “I remember having to go to the superintendent because a teacher told me that I had to lift up the shirt of one of my students to check to see if his pants were sagging and I refused. It can be to the point where legally you’re on shaky ground.”
Carter also agreed that the district shouldn’t have requirements on fabrics.
“I remember one principal who told her staff that she didn’t want them to wear cotton. It was like a joke. You can’t do that. You can’t put requirements on fabrics as a school system,” Carter said. “Schools should be focused on things other than whether or not I got something on that’s tight.”
Board chairwoman Lily Baker, who also leads the conduct committee, asked Moody to go back and make sure the system is not infringing on anyone’s rights.
Baker said she understands principals being concerned about form-fitting clothes.
Board member Marcia Anderson mentioned there have been concerns about teachers wearing leggings.
Moody said that would be a staff dress code issue they will have to discuss.
Other revisions include permitting coats and jackets without hoods at middle and high schools for students to wear in class.
The board will vote on the changes to the code at their May 9 meeting.
One stop registration
The district will offer school registration at the board office for the first time this summer.
Chief Academic Officer Patti Crane said families can enroll all of their children in one place instead of travelling to multiple schools for registration.
School specialists and student information system operators for the district and school level, will be assisting with the process at the board.
“Basically we’re going to have frequently asked questions, brochures for the family and then it will be a full enrollment,” Crane said. “They will be enrolled through Power School just as if they were enrolled at the school. We’re excited about it, being able to do that for the families so they do not have to go to multiple schools if they don’t want to and making it more convenient for families in the summer.”
Families can still go to their zoned school for registration from May 1 to June 2. Registration at the board office and schools will be from June 5 to July 27 and then back at the schools only July 31.
Cost of meals
School meal prices for next school year may increase. Jason Rogers, executive director of maintenance and operations, said the prices are required to increase in order to comply with school nutrition requirements.
The amount charged for a paid meal needs to equal the profit from a reimbursement for a free or reduce meal.
If approved, elementary lunch will be $2, middle and high school lunch $2.25, adult breakfast $2.20 and adult lunch $3.50.
Free breakfast is available to all students.
The board will vote May 9 on the price increase.