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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow SCHOOLS NIX BRITNEY'S STYLE



DRESS CODE ITEM: Caps like this can be worn by students at La Grande High School, but teachers can ask that students take off their hats in class. Dan Newton, 14, who will soon start his freshman year at LHS, is shown above. Some districts don't allow caps. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
DRESS CODE ITEM: Caps like this can be worn by students at La Grande High School, but teachers can ask that students take off their hats in class. Dan Newton, 14, who will soon start his freshman year at LHS, is shown above. Some districts don't allow caps. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Years ago back-to-school fashion was a topic as innocent as a Norman Rockwell painting.

Times have changed.

Earlier this month a national clothing company was forced to pull a back-to-school television clothing ad. The ad generated public outcry because of the revealing clothing it was promoting.

One will never find such clothing worn in Union and Wallowa county schools, however, because of their dress codes.

In the Wallowa School District, for example, dresses and short pants must be of a minimum length. While a student is standing, the tips of her or his fingers must be able to touch their dress or short pants.

The La Grande, Imbler and Wallowa school districts, like many others in this area, do not allow students to wear shirts that people may find objectionable or that promote alcohol, tobacco or the use of illegal products.

Immediate action is taken if such a shirt is worn.

We will make arrangements for them to change. I will even drive them home (so the students can change) if I have to, said John Nesemann, Wallowa principal.

At La Grande High School students are asked to wear something over objectionable shirts or turn them inside out, Vice Principal Jim Boen said.

At La Grande Middle School, students wearing objectionable shirts may be provided with another shirt they can wear the rest of the day, said Principal Doug Hislop.

Union High School Principal Jim Taylor said if a student is wearing an inappropriate shirt his or her parents may be called and asked to bring another one.

Union High School has a new dress code that was developed with the help of students. It states that students are not allowed to wear clothing that exposes their midriffs.

The North Powder School Districts policy states that any type of dress that is objectionable and disrupts the educational process is prohibited. North Powder Superintendent Kerri Smith said the policy is flexible and open-ended, which makes it easier to address new clothing issues.

Styles are changing so quickly that you cant keep up with them, Smith said.

She said students know when they are wearing something that is inappropriate and dont get upset when asked to wear something else

They are just testing you, Smith said.

Nesemann said that sometimes parents are the ones who get upset when their sons or daughters are told they cannot wear an item.

Kids sometimes handle it better than parents. Parents may have spent a lot of money on a fashion item and are upset if it cannot be worn, he said.

The Wallowa School Districts policy also stipulates that students cannot wear sunglassses or brimmed hats, except in shop classes. Nesemann explained that brimmed hats and sunglasses make it difficult to communicate with students.

All staff members like to see who they are talking to eye to eye. Young adults express a lot of feeling and emotion with their eyes, he said.

Imbler School District students are also not allowed to wear hats.

It is a matter of courtesy and respect, Imbler Superintendent Larry Glaze said. It is a positive standard.

Glaze noted that he often sees Imbler High School graduates take off their hats before coming into their school.

They show a lot of respect which is wonderful, Glaze said.

At La Grande High School students can wear hats but teachers can ask that they be taken off in their class.

It is up to the individual teacher, Boen said.

Nesemann said that students who feel frustrated by the Wallowa School Districts dress policy need to remember that they will have opportunities to express themselves in other places and at other times in their lives.

The public school classroom, however, is not the right place to do it, he said.

Nesemann stressed that he is pleased with how students behave and dress overall, especially considering the peer pressure they face and the messages in advertising.

They do well. It must be hard, he said.


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