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What does the new standardized dress policy for Abilene middle schoolers mean?

By Braid Blanks, bblanks@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 11 2014 04:27:26 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 12 2014 12:01:11 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

There's a big change coming next school year for some students in the Abilene Independent School District.

The AISD Board of Trustees voted Monday to implement a standardized dress code for sixth through eighth grades.

So, what are the ins and outs of the new policy? We went to AISD administration to get the facts on how your child will be affected.

Administrators and board members say it wasn’t a decision made lightly. It was made after public information meetings, trips to schools who do have standardized dress codes, extensive talks with those districts and principals right here.

The consensus?

“We had one trustee that said he got more positive feedback on this issue than he could remember in recent times,” said Phil Ashby, communications director for AISD. “I think the community has embraced it. Sure, there are people that are skeptical about it, but I think they have open minds about it as well.”

Here is the complete new Standardized Dress Policy for AISD middle schoolers:

Students can wear polo style shirts with a collar in several color choices: red, white, black, navy blue, royal blue, gray (solid colors only.) Sweatshirts, sweaters, and hoodies with the same color options as shirts are permitted. Shirts will need to be tucked in for both boys and girls. No logos or monograms except for AISD school logos on standardized tops are allowed.

Pants, shorts, and skirts will have to be khaki, black, or navy blue and must be hemmed and in good condition (no holes, rips, tears etc.) They may also wear leggings in the above mentioned shirt colors and must be worn with shorts or a skirt. 

There will be one spirit day a week, which will be determined by the principal, usually on Fridays, on which students will be able to wear AISD school spirit shirts with black or blue jeans. Students may also continue to wear standardized dress on spirit days if they so choose.

As for belts, plain black or brown are allowed (no ribbon or sashes, etc.) and required if the bottoms have belt loops. Small style buckles are acceptable. 

Flip-flops/slides or shower type shoes, are not allowed.

Meanwhile, AISD officials say they wanted to empower their students by giving them choices in what will be a big transition for them.

“Initially students aren’t that positive when they’re told they have to dress like other students,” Ashby said. “I think that’s natural. The one’s I’ve heard from and the ones I’ve talked to they’re also open to it.” 

But they also believe there are many positives with this change as well, namely with peer pressure.

“This kind of evens the playing field with all of our students,” Ashby said. “It takes a big decision out of the hands of kids when there’s pressure on how to dress each day. And then there’s the cost factor. We think parents will find that buying the standardized dress instead of the designer wear or brand name products will be a benefit to their family budgets."

They also say it will create a more professional and studious atmosphere for everyone. 

With this bold move many are now wondering if standardized dress will expand to upper or lower grade levels.

“That remains to be seen,” Ashby said. “I think a lot will depend on how it’s embraced on the campuses, how well it goes, and is it gonna meet the goals that we hope it meets? But there are no immediate plans to do that as of now."