HANOVER TWP. – Emotions ran high at the Hanover Area School Board meeting Thursday as parents and students voiced concerns over the proposed dress code policy.
The board voted on the second reading of the policy during the meeting; if approved next month, the policy will go into effect at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
The structured dress code, which the board said is comparable with other area districts' codes, drew criticism as well as support from audience members who shouted at each other from across the auditorium. Opponents said the policy, which includes restrictions on facial and ear piercings, is too strict.
One woman, who didn't identify herself, said her teenage children can't adhere to the policy due to medical conditions, and her 18-year-old niece, who lives with her, will refuse to go to school if the policy is implemented.
District Solicitor George Shovlin said that if a student can't adhere to the policy due to medical or religious reasons, an exception can be granted by the school principal.
The policy, which also applies to teachers and staff, allows for freedom of choice, but with reasonable restrictions, Shovlin said. The proposed dress code requires students to wear beige, navy or black pants, solid-colored golf or dress shirts, solid-colored knee or ankle-length skirts and closed shoes.
The choices are affordable, said Shovlin, pointing out that items can be purchased at Target, Kmart and Walmart.
Matthew Curry said he is concerned educators will take time away from teaching to enforce the policy.
As a taxpayer and a parent, I want the teachers concentrating on teaching, he said.
Board Vice President Joseph Steininger said the board had been looking into a policy for at least two years and researched the policies of other districts. One reason we started looking into this is that the teachers were spending a good amount of time handling dress situations in the classroom, he said. They came to us.
The proposed dress code can be viewed at www.hanoverarea.org.