School Board Takes Step To Tighten Dress Code At Bourne Middle School

There will be a new dress code in place when Bourne Middle School students return to classes in the fall, but it won’t be the strict “Dress for Success” code that was originally considered.

That code, which banned shirts with logos or lace, yoga pants and denim jeans, is still being considered for the future.

A letter outlining changes to the new student dress code at Bourne Middle School was sent home to parents last week.

The Building Based Teacher Leadership Team at Bourne Middle School started to look at tightening the school’s dress code in spring 2013.

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The team has been together for two years and searches for ways to continuously improve the climate, culture and community spirit at the school. The dress code has been a consistent, twice-a-month meeting topic all year.

“We want a dress code that will make our school community stronger and better, not divide it,” principal Melissa L. Stafford said.

The original Dress For Success proposal was modeled after the dress code in place at Lawrence Junior High School in Falmouth, where dress is restricted to collared shirts in solid colors with bottoms in tan, black or navy blue only. Tops can have no logos, lace or patterns. Yoga pants, denim or corduroy, hoods, high heels, slippers, Uggs and flip flops were also prohibited under the first proposed dress code.

The Bourne school community was polled, with 66 percent of students opposing the change and 75 percent of parents and 83 percent of teachers supporting it.

“We think that people on both sides of the issue will be comfortable with the proposal we are bringing before the school committee, for final handbook review, but may still tweak it along the way,” Ms. Stafford said.

The compromise dress code version allows logos on collared or crew neck shirts only and along with twill/chino bottoms, denim and corduroy are allowed but leggings can only be worn under a dress or skirt. The restrictions on colors and patterns are also lifted to include any color, any pattern, any style, any logo.

Hoods seem to be the remaining issue of contention in the latest dress code version. Feedback received by the middle school administration suggests that restricting hoods is causing alarm in some families. Some parents recognize that this age group prefers to wear a hooded sweatshirt instead of a jacket in cold and foul weather, and some fear their children will wear no jacket at all if they cannot wear a hooded sweatshirt.

The team will continue to look at the full version of Dress For Success for the future.

“We heard loud and clear during this process that this is a really big step and that taking other smaller steps toward a compromise was the right way to go this year. We’ve taken all of the feedback and adapted Falmouth’s

Dress For Success into a dress code that represents what Bourne wants," Ms. Stafford said.

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  • john4ward

    As a retired school administrator, I can certainly sympathize with the concerns around dress codes for students. It is a very good thing the issue is being carefully considered and vetted. The parent concern on hoodies is valid. In my experience, however, the simple fix is to allow hoodies but to not allow the hoods themselves to be worn over student's heads indoors. Teachers and admins need to be able to see eyes and be assured that headphones aren't being used while students are in classrooms and in hallways. It's all about compromise and common sense.