Council Reopens Dress Code – Council Update (November 29th)
This week’s Council meeting was a little different, due to the fact that less than five minutes after starting it was interrupted by a loud fire alarm. Despite this, Council managed to reconvene within five minutes of students being let back in the building. Since the meeting was cut short, members only got to discuss one issue. This issue was the Dress Code Motion, brought by Moderator Aisling Kelly.
The Dress Code Motion* would vastly change the way the current dress code policy is written in the handbook. The new dress code is based on the “Oregon NOW Model Student Dress Code*.” Moderator Kelly emphasized how the new wording would make sure that people couldn’t be discriminated against for things such as religion and gender.
However, the motion found strong resistance in the details. Junior Representative Elizabeth Napier discussed how she thought belly buttons, which the new motion would not allow students to show, should not need to be covered because they are not overtly sexual, like the other body parts that are listed in the coverage requirement section of the policy. Representative Napier’s concern was echoed by Mrs. Stevenson, who asked why belly buttons needed to be covered, as they weren’t a coverage requirement under the Oregon NOW dress code. Moderator Kelly responded that she felt that it might offend people or make people uncomfortable but that it was open to discussion. Senior Representative Perrin Milliken also noted that under the proposed policy someone could just show up in underwear, leading Mod. Kelly to come to the conclusion that shirt and pants should be added as things that must be worn.
Mrs. Stevenson and Ms. Good asked how the policy would be enforced, as the policy is very vague on how it would be enforced. This became the largest roadblock for the passing of the motion, as Moderator Kelly said she was unsure of how it should be enforced. Thus, acknowledging how big of an issue the dress code is, Moderator Kelly suggested that the motion be deferred to a committee to be discussed further and more in-depth, and since Curricular Committee was the only one without any engagements, it was deferred to them without any objections.
*The full proposed policy can be read at: https://docs.google.com/a/hanovernorwichschools.org/document/d/1NL_6CpNT-DeE3wboiQeXpgWtLt10AhKg3s56rCShLw0/edit?usp=sharing
*The “Oregon NOW Model Student Dress Code” can be found at: http://www.noworegon.org/uploads/1/2/7/5/12754387/or_now_model_student_dress_code_feb_2016__1_.pdf