The possibility of a dress code policy for Washington County Public Schools employees recently was discussed by some school board members, but the issue might be addressed without creating a formal policy, the chairwoman of the school board’s Policy Committee said.
After the Policy Committee, which consists of three board members, discussed the issue in April, it decided to recommend the superintendent have staff and representatives from employee groups collaborate on establishing a statement and guidelines for professional dress rather than the board pursue a formal policy, Policy Committee Chairwoman Jacqueline Fischer said.
The Herald-Mail, said he plans to ask a group to think about the committee’s request and the best way to approach it.
Wilcox said a representative group could start working on the issue as early as this spring to try to have suggestions outlined for the fall.
Fischer mentioned the issue at the end of the board’s May 7 board meeting.
Asked Monday what prompted the idea of an employee dress code, Fischer said she suggested the committee might look into a dress code policy for teachers and support staff. The committee had been working on the student dress code policy and a couple of board members said they had occasionally seen teachers or school employees who were not dressed appropriately, she said.
Fischer said until the end of her tenure as a teacher in 2000, she had concerns about employee dress, particularly regarding some female substitute teachers. Fischer said some substitute teachers wore skirts she thought were too short or wore shirts or blouses she thought showed too much cleavage.
Board President Justin Hartings, a member of the Policy Committee, said he has seen employees in schools who had their midsections visible.
“I think if you have a teacher in the classroom that has their midsection showing, I think that’s inappropriate,” he said.
Hartings said he also doesn’t think employees, male or female, should wear pants or shorts that are too short because it distracts from the educational environment.
Hartings said he doesn’t think the way employees dress is a huge problem.
“I just think, as with students, we should have a clear expectation that learning is a serious activity, and that the people involved ... should dress in a way that reflects the seriousness of the work that we’re doing,” Hartings said.
School system spokesman Richard Wright said there are no policies or regulations regarding how employees dress, but the annual performance review process includes a section that addresses whether employees dress appropriately for the job.
The issue of employee attire is managed at the school level, Wright said.
If a kindergarten teacher knows he or she is going to be on the floor in reading circles and working with children, the teacher wears clothes appropriate to do that, he said.
Fischer told board members May 7 that employee attire could be addressed through the annual new teacher academy and faculty meetings, or through the human resources department as it meets with prospective teachers.