At the end of the school year, Kim Schmidlin was approached by a parent regarding the dress code for teachers within Sampson County Schools.
“We have an extensive dress code for our students and no dress code for our staff,” said Schmidlin, a board member for the county school system.
During a Tuesday morning work session, Schmidlin brought up the issue with other members and believes it’s something that needs to be addressed. She mentioned how the restrictions vary at different schools throughout Sampson County Schools.
“I think right now the principals are deciding,” she said about the variety. “Some have strict dress codes and some have very relaxed dress codes.”
The dress code is not a new topic for the school leaders. Previously, a decision was made which gives students the option of not tucking in their shirts. The same applies to the high school. Schmidlin mentioned how most businesses have some type of guidelines for its employees. While, the district has a code for employees, but it’s not specific and detailed like the one for students.
“I wouldn’t understand what the problem would be having a general guidelines,” she said. “I think it helps administrators to have some from school to school.
Although board members are expected to dress professionally, it has not been a major issue in the past. Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said he never worked in a school system that had problems with the teacher dress code.
“But it’s definitely something that warrants conversation,” Bracy said.
Currently, the policy gives principals, supervisors the the superintendent to make decisions and regulations.
“I believe the vast majority of our employees dress appropriately,” said Telfair Simpson, board member. “If you’re a PE teacher, obviously you’re going to wear shorts and tennis shoes.”
Powell added that it also depends on the grade level as well. She noticed how teachers who teach elementary and high school have a different style of dress. Board Chairman Dewain Sinclair said it also depends on the age of the teachers.
“Our culture is going more casual,” Schmidlin said. “So I think we have to be aware that’s where it’s going. But is that acceptable?”
Schmidlin said a couple of teachers were wearing shorts, something she says she believes is too casual for instructional staff members. Sinclair said that is something a school leader should have noticed.
“That’s the kind of thing you have when there’s nothing in place and everyone is making their own interpretation or their own rules,” Schmidlin said.
Sinclair said the board will look into the policy in the future.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.