By Jim Melwert and Diana Rocco
WALLINGFORD, Pa. (CBS) – A new dress code is about to take effect in the Wallingford-Swarthmore school district, and it was a topic of discussion at a school board meeting Monday night.READ MORE: Gas Prices Rise In New Jersey, Around Nation Amid High Crude Prices
The school year hasn’t started, but parents and students have already turned out by the dozen to talk about the new dress code guidelines for Wallingford-Swarthmore middle and high school students in effect this September.
The new policy lists no tank tops or spaghetti straps, only crew neck or collared shirts, and shorts, skirts or pants that sit on the waist.
“I’m not sure that this policy comports to reality,” says Christine Reuther, mother of a 14-year-old student. “You can’t find pants that come up to the waist, you can’t find necessarily anything fashionable in a crewneck that has three-inch sleeves, I mean that’s just not what girls wear in the summer.”
She says she supports guidelines and standards, and adds this is a valuable discussion:
“The unfortunate part is we’re having it two and a half weeks before school starts instead of having had it last spring.”
Acting Superintendent Michael Pladus says it’s an effort to provide more clarity than the previous dress code, and adds there may be some misunderstanding regarding terminology, which will be addressed.
The meeting took place at 7 p.m.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Stormy Evening Brings In Seasonal Temperatures For Early Next Week
“The clothes my daughter wore in April, May and June that were perfectly fine for her to wear that we bought her are not fine now and that’s a big concern for us,” said parent Shelly Ross.
“Walking down the hallways there’s not any obscene dress at out school so it shocks many of us,” said a student.
Notification went to high school parents last week and quickly spread. Tops must be crew neck or collared with sleeves of at least three inches, shorts and skirts must have an inseam of three inches or greater. Spandex and yoga pants, not permitted. Tank tops, spaghetti straps, tube tops, bare midriffs, wide armholes, or see-through clothing, also not permitted, and no cutoffs of any kind.
“If this policy is in fact in place at this time I find it highly biased towards one gender.”
At the school board meeting Monday, parents say the new standards took them by surprise.
“We don’t want to go around the school walking around every day just being worried about am I going to get dress-coded walking by an administrative person, I’m there to learn,” said a student.
After nearly an hour and some impatient back and forth, the board vowed to clarify, telling parents to hold off on the back to school shopping.
“For a dress code or any school-based initiative to be successful, it really needs parents and the school and students working in concert,” said Superintendent Pladus.MORE NEWS: Inaugural Penn Relays 5K Underway At Penn Park
The school administration says they will be meeting Tuesday to clarify the new dress code, and they are telling parents to expect an updated email by the end of the week.