LPS Dress code - who decides who goes home?

Ever wonder what kids are wearing these days?  Well, you may know that schools often have a dress code regulating what kids can and can't wear to class.  But, one parent says school officials aren't consistently enforcing the same dress codes for each and every student.

Betty Potts says she sent her daughter to school, this week, in a very cute summer shorts outfit.  But, when the teen got to school, a counselor said the shorts were too short.  Potts feels her daughter was singled out and she wants to know why.

"They should be applied to everybody, not just who you catch. because then you got my child that's upset because they caught her, but the other child that has the same shorts on or the same length, they didn't catch her, so she gets to wear hers all day," said Potts.  And, when teen is in middle school, it's a big deal to them.

Potts says her daughter's shorts came down to her fingertips, but the counselor that sent her home didn't agree that that length was appropriate.  And, it wasn't the counselor taking issue with the teen's attire that bothered Potts.  Another girl at school, she says, was wearing the exact same outfit and she was not sent home.  What makes this even more of an issue for Potts is that she was called from work to take her daughter home to change.  She works at Reynolds Hospital and says she can't take time off work in the middle of the day when she has already approved her daughter's outfit.

But, the Executive Director of Lawton Middle Schools says that even though there's a dress code, not all the rules can be strictly applied to each student.  Barbara Ellis says some body types are very different depending on their stage of development.  She says during growth spurts, what fits one month may not fit appropriately the next.  This is why they created the dress code although they sometimes have a hard time enforcing it.  "Does that make it right that some people get away with it and others don't? It's very similar to the way it is with any other law really. you may not always catch everyone that is responsible for breaking that rule, or law, but you still want everybody to try to conform," said Ellis.

"We want to work with parents," said Ellis.  "We want to work with students.  But, we also have to make it an environment that's conducive to learning.  And if children are paying more attention to attire, they're not being fully attentive to their academics."  She says it's very difficult to tell students their clothes are inappropriate after the parent has already approved.  The school system is asking parents to work with their kids to find clothes that are more on the conservative side.

They say:

"The Lawton Board of Education is deeply interested in creating the best learning atmosphere possible in every one of its schools.  The board appreciates the cooperative attitude of the vast majority of students.  It is important that school atmosphere allows students to pursue their education free from disruption or distraction.  Maintaining order necessitates regulations relating to school discipline.  One of these is the school dress code.

And LPS has provided a list of violations of the dress code:

  • Bare feet
  • See-through clothing
  • Bare midriffs
  • Inappropriate clothing
  • Bare midriffs
  • Inappropriate shorts, clothing, jewelry or body marking
  • Body piercing jewelry or adornments (except in the ears)
  • Hats worn in the building
  • Any article of clothing that graphically depicts scenes of violence, death or other gruesome, macabre or cruel acts
  • Any article of clothing that depicts alcohol, drugs, tobacco or sexually suggestive material
  • Any clothing, accessory that could be used as a weapon - such as chains, belts, handcuffs, studded gloves, studded bracelets, etc.
  • Wearing pants below the waistline
  • Wearing shirts exceeding the length of the student's closed fists