Board passes students’ dress code changes

Published 7:27 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fashion may be smashing, but there’s some clothes Ellis Middle School girls agree shouldn’t be worn in school.

A group of eighth grade students created a new dress code after studying the issue for months.

“We thought we should help our school and classmates,” said Mer Gach, Ellis eighth-grader. “We thought we should have clothing dos and don’ts because people are wearing innappropriate stuff to school that we shouldn’t have or allow.”

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The group, which meets weekly with Ellis Assistant Principal Jessica Cabeen, performs service-based projects, including sending letters and treats to troops in Afghanistan. They decided about five months ago to take a look at the dress code. These six girls looked at 60 other schools’ dress codes as well as Austin High School and Ellis dress codes.

One thing stood out: these dress codes needed to be simplified. That’s what the group did, spelling out what short shorts means (If your arms are at your side, your shorts should be below your fingers) to the kind of tops that expose shoulders or midriff (no tank tops or low v-neck that require a tank top underneath), to defining the differences between gang-related clothing and clothing that advertises drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other innapropriate things in school.

“(Students) need to know the difference between them,” said Cindy Renteria, eighth-grader.

The Austin Public School board accepted the revised dress code during its special session Monday, commending the students on their research.

“You guys did a lot of good work,” Chairman Aaron Keenan told four of the six girls Monday.

The group will make a powerpoint presentation to various classrooms by the end of the school year, according to Cabeen.

“They have worked very hard on this,” Cabeen said.