There has been a recommendation to drop skirts from the middle and high school dress code. The current skirt length for girls in grades 6-12 is no more than 2” above mid-knee. We have been using 2” above the top of the knee as the visual signal that skirts are shorter than the standard. This is based on our desire to train our girls to dress modestly. For this standard to be upheld, requires consistent monitoring by parents of the length of skirts prior to leaving the home. Even when girls leave the home with their skirts at the correct length, we hear that many of them roll their skirts up at the waist prior to going to class. There is also the issue of meeting the standard on the front of the skirt and violation on the back of the skirt.
Because of the shortened length of many of the skirts, sitting in desks, chairs and on the floor also becomes a modesty issue. There have been a number of sessions with high school girls conducted by the Dean of Students regarding modesty. This has not been effective – “girls still want to show their legs and keep pushing skirts up.” Furthermore, since a number of our middle school and high school teachers are males, they do not feel comfortable in addressing this issue in the classroom. We have also had our male students complain.
Penalty for violation for dress code is to 1) send the student home to change, or 2) ask parents to bring in a different item to wear. Goal is to train students to dress in a conservative fashion.
Our skirt length code has varied from mid-knee, 2” above mid-knee, and 2” above the knee, depending on which dress code publication you read. 2” above mid-knee places the hem of the skirt just about the top of the knee. “Mid-knee” has been a debatable issue as has been the “top of the knee.” One could advocate having a girl kneel on the floor and then measuring 2” up from the ground to get a strict standard. However, it is not the desire of the school to go through these measures each time a skirt is in question. Somewhere from mid-knee to no more than 2” above the top of the knee provides around a 4” range. Most can sport skirts more than 2” above the top of the knee.
Here is a sample comment from one of our female teachers: “I am so tired of the battle of skirt length. I’ve already talked to 4 girls today about rolling skirts or skirt length. They always have excuses. One girl had even cut her hem off herself. I vote that we just not allow girls to wear skirts anymore.”
We have conduct three surveys at the high school doors.
Check 1: 56 students were in skirts (34% of 165 girls). Of those who wore skirts 32 were in code – 57%, 24 out of code – 43% (biggest issue were skirts that were close to length in front, but raised in the back)
Check 2: 59 students were checked. 37 in code – 63%, 22 out of code – 37%
Check 3: 78 students were checked. 55 in code -71%, 23 out of code – 29%
Check 4: 63 students were checked. 47 in code – 75%, 16 out of code – 25%
Average four day check. 70% in code, 30% out of code.
Parent survey asked the question:
“The current skirt length for 6th-12th grade girls is 2" above the top of the knee. This is based on our desire to train our girls to dress modestly. For this standard to be upheld, it requires consistent monitoring by parents of the length of skirts prior to leaving the home. Even when girls may leave the home with their skirts at the correct length, we hear that many of them roll their skirts up at the waist prior to going to class. Because of the shortened length of many of the skirts, sitting in desks, chairs and on the floor also becomes a modesty issue. There have been a number of recommendations that we drop our skirt dress code for grades 6-12.”
Currently, 35% of our MS and HS parents have responded to the survey: As you can see the parents are very much divided on this issue.
Dealing with the length of skirts has been on ongoing issue, every year since the school placed a limit on how short skirts can be.
The School Board recently reviewed the recommendation of dropping skirts from the dress code for all the reasons cited above. However, given 70% of our girls in compliance to the skirt dress code, the Board did not feel to remove skirts as a dress code item for grades 6-12. However, they felt that wearing a skirt is a privileged item in the dress code and felt that those girls who are not willing to abide by the established code (includes sitting on the floor or in school desks in a modest fashion) , need to lose this privilege for the year.
Over the summer we will be working on the ways of enforcing this code from day one and communicating the change over the summer. We do know that when girls are referred to the Principal or Dean of Students, skirts that were short seem to lengthen by the time they get to the office.
Given this direction for next year, we would appreciate any comments you might offer on how to monitor and enforce this standard for grades 6-12.
I am asking that you do not share this communication with any students at this time, we will do this over the summer and at the start of school.