By Wil Crews
The Opelika City Schools Board of Education voted to ratify a revised student dress code for the 2022-23 school year.
The prior student dress code was adopted in 2007, and newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Farrell Seymore was influential in deciding that it needed some updating.
“After hearing feedback from students, parents, teachers and administrators, we began a process, really over a year ago, of having conversations with those different groups about what we can do to make our dress code a little more up-to-date and comfortable … that maintains a good standard for learning in an educational environment, but also allow some freedom and provide some comfort to student,” Seymore said.
According to Seymore, the newly revised dress code removed some prohibitive language and gives students more freedom and flexibility when deciding what to wear to school.
“In the old dress code, we had some references to specific brands and things like that which were outdated,” he said. “We wanted to free that up a bit, provide some language that would allow that flexibility.”
The 2022-23 current dress code for Opelika City Schools reads as follows:
The Opelika City Board of Education and administration recognize the effect that student dress and grooming have upon student behavior and commitment to learning. In order to maintain an atmosphere that is safe and conducive to learning, the following guidelines have been adopted. The goal of the dress code is to encourage students to dress in a manner that promotes habits that lead to success.
Students must wear clothing that covers the area from the shoulders to mid-thigh.
Pants, shorts and skirts must be worn at the waist and should fit properly.
Skirts, shorts and dresses must be mid-thigh or longer in front and back.
Undergarments must be worn in an appropriate manner and should not be visible.
Tops must have sleeves with a minimum width of two inches.
Pajamas should not be worn to school.
T-shirts or any other type clothing or personal item bearing a reference to firearms, weapons, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, drugs, drug-related slogans, sexual references, gang affiliation and/or any other wording, drawings, pictures, etc., which in any way can be interpreted as suggestive, obscene, offensive or relating to violence, etc., are not permitted.
No sunglasses, hats, hoods or other head coverings are to be worn during the regular school day.
Students are required to wear appropriate shoes to school at all times — no bare feet.
Students in violation of the dress code will be required to change immediately. If this requires checking out, the absence is unexcused.
If any aspect of the Dress Code becomes a consistent problem, appropriate adjustments will be made by the administration to address the situation.
The administration of Opelika City Schools maintains the absolute authority in making subjective judgments concerning student dress and personal appearance.
“If someone is clearly out of line with the dress code, then we still have the flexibility to address that,” Seymore said. “We want the focus to be on teaching and learning, and not dress code –– and we feel like this is a good way to that. We are looking forward to a great school year.”