The updates come after students, staff share feedback about dress codes and how they are enforced
Last June, five Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) students provided public comments before the Board of Directors regarding the district’s dress code and requesting updates. Unbeknownst to them, district officials had already begun looking at the dress code and discussing updates with representatives from the student equity committee. With feedback from building administrators, SKPS has updated its dress code.
Salem-Keizer Dress Code
Salem-Keizer Public Schools expects that all students will dress in a way that is appropriate for the school day or for any school-sponsored event. Student dress choices should respect the intent to sustain a community that is inclusive of a diverse range of identities. The primary responsibility for a student’s attire resides with the student and their parent(s) or guardian(s). The school district is responsible for seeing that student attire does not interfere with the health or safety of any student, that student attire does not contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student, and that dress code enforcement does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size. Any restrictions to the way a student dresses must be necessary to support the overall educational goals of the school and must be explained within this dress code.
1. Basic Principle: Certain body parts must be covered for all students at all times.
Clothes must be worn in a way such that genitals, buttocks, breasts, and nipples are fully covered with opaque fabric. All items listed in the “must wear” and “may wear” categories below must meet this basic principle.
2. Students Must Wear*, while following the basic principle of Section 1 above:
● A Shirt (with fabric in the front, back, and on the sides under the arms), AND
● Pants/jeans or the equivalent (for example, a skirt, sweatpants, leggings, a dress or shorts), AND
*Courses that include attire as part of the curriculum (for example, professionalism, public speaking, and job readiness) may include assignment-specific dress, but should not focus on covering bodies in a particular way or promoting culturally-specific attire. Activity-specific shoes requirements are permitted (for example, athletic shoes for PE).
3. Students May Wear, as long as these items do not violate Section 1 above:
● Hats facing straight forward or straight backward. Hats must allow the face to be visible to staff, and not interfere with the line of sight of any student or staff.
● Religious head coverings.
● Religious headwear.
● Hoodie sweatshirts are allowed; however, hoods may not cover the head indoors.
● Fitted pants, including opaque leggings, yoga pants and “skinny jeans”
● Ripped jeans, as long as underwear and buttocks are not exposed.
● Tank tops, including spaghetti straps; halter tops
● Athletic attire
● Visible waistbands on undergarments or visible straps on undergarments worn under other clothing (as long as this is done in a way that does not violate Section 1 above).
4. Students Cannot Wear:
● Violent language or images.
● Gang-affiliated clothing.
● Images or language depicting drugs or alcohol (or any illegal item or activity).
● Hate speech, profanity, pornography.
● Images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment based on any protected class or consistently marginalized groups.
● Any clothing that reveals visible undergarments (visible waistbands and visible straps are allowed)
● Swimsuits (except as required in class or athletic practice).
● Accessories that could be considered dangerous or could be used as a weapon.
● Any item that obscures the face or ears (except as a religious observance).
Adjustments to the dress code may be made on a case-by-case basis for a student’s IEP or social and emotional learning.
These dress code guidelines shall apply to regular school days and summer school days, as well as any school-related events and activities, such as graduation ceremonies, dances and prom.