Jonathan Alder students, take notice. Females showing cleavage or students of either sex wearing jeans with holes above the knees to school will not get a warm welcome.
On July 14, the school board discussed problems related to teen fashion trends. Superintendent Doug Carpenter said revisions to the district’s “dress and grooming’’ policy are in order.
According to Carpenter, building administrators have expressed concerns about “cleavage, holes in pants and droopy drawers.” The district’s policy already prohibits clothing that displays underwear, which addresses problems with garments with low waistlines or holes above the knees.
Plain City Elementary Principal Kelly Hicks said the dress code does not address students who wear thong underwear or no underwear beneath jeans with holes.
Board member Christina Blacka reminded board members that some students may have holes in their pants due to normal wear and tear and not fads.
“What about students who wear jeans with holes that have been patched?’’ she asked.
“If they’re patched, there’s no hole,” replied board member John Adams.
When it came to discussion of the cleavage problem, Carpenter and the board members broached the subject as tactfully as possible.
“You can have two (female) students sitting side by side wearing the same top and it can be different,” Carpenter said. “How can you tell one student that the top is inappropriate because it shows cleavage and the other student that the same top is appropriate,” Carpenter asked.
Administrators and teachers are worried that the tank top trend for females could cause distractions in the classroom.
Votaw and board member Tom Bichsel offered descriptions of acceptable dress code.
Blacka was the only female board member at the meeting as board member Linda Beachy was absent. Blacka said some female students are more developed at a given age than others. She wanted to know how the board would address the issue without banning all tank tops for female students.
In the end, the board voted to change the student dress code to state that no student will display cleavage in classrooms because the existing policy prohibits students from wearing clothing that distracts from classroom instruction. Tank tops that reveal cleavage must be covered by another layer of clothing.
Higher lunch prices
In other business, the board agreed to raise the price of school lunches for the 2008-2009 school year.
“Initially we thought that we could keep the price at the same cost,” Carpenter said, “but information received from cafeteria suppliers has shown there will be a significant increase in food costs for the district’s cafeteria system that has remained self-sufficient over the past few years.”
Lunch prices for next year are:
• $2.50 for grades K-6, an increase of 25 cents over last year
• $2.75 for grades seven through 12, an increase of 25 cents
• 50 cents for milk prices, an increase of 5 cents
• Where offered, breakfast prices will be $1 to $1.25.
The Jonathan Alder school board will hold its next public meeting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 11.