July 15, 2024 Donate

Community, County, Education, Featured Educaiton, Saline, Saline Education

Saline Area Schools update its dress and grooming policy

The Saline Area Schools (SAS) Board of Education approved by a unanimous vote at its July 9 meeting the final reading of the revised wording of the Dress and Grooming policy.

The updated policy begins with:

“The Board of Education recognizes that each student’s mode of dress and grooming is a manifestation of personal style and individual preference. The Board will not interfere with the right of students and their parents to make decisions regarding their appearance, except when their choices interfere with the educational program of the schools. Students have the right to dress in accordance with their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, within the constraints of the dress code promulgated by the school.”

Other parts of the policy include the sentences:

“Clothing that may serve to deliberately intimidate students is prohibited by Policy 0145 (Discriminatory Harassment) and Policy 1662 (Anti-Harassment).”

“Direct staff to enforce the school’s dress code in accordance with the Saline Area Schools Nondiscrimination Policy, po0145 and the Transgender and Non-Binary Student Policy, po5517.02.”

In her memo to the school board, school board secretary Jenny Miller, who is also Chair of the Policy Committee, said “Optional language has been added to state what is legally required with regard to enforcing the dress code in a nondiscriminatory/uniform manner and affirming a student’s right to dress in accordance with their gender identity (within the constraints of the adopted dress code). The added language is an option because there is no requirement to include such language in policy or administrative guidelines. Implementation of such measures is required in accordance with the stated principles, whether they are in writing or not, in order to comply with Title IX and Title VII.”

Another part of the policy reads:

“Accordingly, the Superintendent shall establish such grooming guidelines as are necessary to promote discipline, maintain order, secure the safety of students, and provide a healthy environment conducive to academic purposes. Such guidelines shall prohibit student dress or grooming practices which:

A. (x ) present a hazard to the health or safety of the student or to others in the school;

B. (x ) interfere with school work, create disorder, or disrupt the educational program;

C. (x ) cause excessive wear or damage to school property;

D. (x) prevent the student from achieving educational objectives because of blocked vision or restricted movement.”

SAS Superintendent Steve Laatsch told the Sun Times News it’s a “policy that the Board of Education has been discussing for a couple of years now at Policy Committee meetings.”

“The discussion has been around making sure that our dress code is inclusive,” Laatsch said. “We also want our student handbooks, developed and implemented by our building administration, to match our policies within our Board of Education Policy Manual. By updating and passing this policy, we have now done that.”

A full reading of the policy can be found on the school district’s website under the board of education tab in the policies section.