School districts iron out dress code policy

During the Spring Cove School Board’s recent approval of a new student dress code outlawing tight clothing, such as leggings worn as pants, some on the board broached the possibility of uniforms as a cure for periodic outfit debates.

Spring Cove isn’t the only district where that topic has come up.

Students wear collared shirts and dress pants at McAuliffe Heights, a magnet school in the Altoona Area School District that enrolls students based on applications.

McAuliffe Heights Principal Bernie Joyce said during a school board committee meeting this year that he believes it’s time for all schools in Altoona Area to have a dress code like McAuliffe Heights.

McAuliffe Heights is a small school that was established to test new instruction methods for the entire district.

“The original idea was to spread those things [proven effective at McAuliffe Heights] out to other schools. I’ve spoken with some other elementary principals, and I think the culture would be right for uniforms,” he said.

The board and administration were receptive to his suggestion. But the school year is coming to a close, and there’s been no further discussion since Joyce’s initial suggestion made last winter.

“My daughter going through elementary school had more arguments with her mother about what she wanted to wear to school than her brother did,” he said.

“Not that we look like robots here [at McAuliffe Heights]. I think it levels the playing field for students.”

At Hollidaysburg Area, the dress code has not been changed from previous years. But the administration and school board ironed it out last summer so that students and parents know specifically which types of clothing are prohibited.

Halter tops, tube tops or tank tops, crop tops, mesh tops, jogging shorts, bicycle shorts, mini-skirts, underwear and undershirts worn as outerwear, muscle shirts with open sides and pajama pants are banned. Donning those items will earn a student detention.

And leggings or spandex worn without a long top or shorts are also unacceptable.

The dress code and its modifications are intended to establish an atmosphere within the school that allows students to learn efficiently, the policy states.

However, administrators said a uniform policy is not on any foreseeable meeting agenda.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.