By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Leggings are cool for school, but skirts and dresses at the Tupelo middle and high schools will have to go lower under changes to district dress code.
The school board approved several adjustments to the dress code this week.
“Parents need to be aware (of the dress code) as they are buying for school,” said Diana Ezell, assistant superintendent.
Girls in all grades are now permitted to wear leggings, jeggings and tights under appropriate-length skirts or shorts.
However, girls in seventh through 12th grade will need skirts that go to the knee; previously the length had been three inches above the knee.
The high school staff found that the higher length was not giving students enough coverage as they reached overhead, sat down and put on backpacks, said Assistant Principal Nikki Peel.
“At knee length, if I bend over or put on a backpack, I’m still okay,” Peel said.
The length for shorts – for boys and girls – remains three inches above the knee. The length for skirts and dresses in elementary school also will remain the same: even with the child’s fingertips when their arms are at their sides.
The board also updated the language on tank tops. Any shirts that expose the shoulder blades or underwear muscle shirts, tube tops, tank tops, razor back tops, spaghetti strap tops and fish net tops are not allowed.
Saggy pants remain contrary to dress code and Tupelo ordinance. At Milam School, shirts are supposed to be tucked in to pants and shirts.
The revised policy also addressed piercings on exposed parts of the body, prohibiting those considered a distraction or a safety concern.
For example, a nose piercing with a small stud would not break the dress code, but a larger ring through the nose that would be distracting and easy for someone to grab would be, Peel said. Tongue piercings are not prohibited.
“It’s not about your style or fashion,” Peel said. “It’s about safety, especially with piercings.”
In grades seven through 12, students who don’t meet the dress code will be sent to in-school suspension until they have clothing that meets requirements.