A review of discipline referrals at CHS indicated that Dr. Gilliard and the CHS assistant principals are doing just that.
Since Dr. Gilliard arrived at the high school as interim principal there have been 109 students referred to the office for dress code violations compared to 120 referrals during the entire 2013-2014 school term.
On Wednesday, Oct. 8, Dr. Gilliard more clearly defined and made the dress code less vague for the benefit of the faculty, students and parents.
Teachers reviewed the dress code with students and a mass call to parents was made to alert them of the clarified policy. A copy of the rules was also placed on the school website.
“It is our desire that Cairo High School students take pride and present themselves in a respectable manner at all times. We want our students to be prepared for the workforce or post secondary education options after graduation. Therefore, we have given them an explanation of the dress code as written in the handbook,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The revisions were designed to more clearly define what is appropriate and inappropriate dress for school.
Students who violate the dress code will receive a warning on the first offense. For a second offense the student will have after-school detention and three days of in-school suspension for each additional offense.
According to the interim CHS principal, students unable to obtain appropriate clothing on the first or second offense will be placed in in-school suspension for the remainder of the school day.
Since the more clearly defined policy was presented on Oct. 8 there have been 78 referrals for dress code violations. Of those, 50 were for boys and 28 for girls.
“The violations for boys are typically saggy pants or wearing pants with holes in them above the knee. The most common violations for girls are skirts that are too short or shirts that have necklines that are too low or reveal undergarments,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Of the 120 violations last school term, 70 involved boys and 50 involved girls. From Aug. 8, when school opened for the 2014-2015 term, until Dr. Gilliard took his post on Sept. 15 there had been 11 referrals for dress code violations.
“We are enforcing the dress code that has been on the books for several years. We appreciate the support of our parents and students in adhering to the dress code,” Dr. Gilliard said.
School officials have been criticized for the increased emphasis on enforcing the dress code, but Superintendent Bailey stands firmly behind the CHS administration.
“I’ve received a few calls, however, the consensus is that as long as we are consistent with everyone parents seem to understand. Policing what over a thousand students wear each day is no easy task. We have to also police how some parents dress and act when they come into the school, as well,” Superintendent Bailey said.
Dr. Gilliard offered this advice, “If you question the appropriateness of an outfit while getting dressed in the morning, then most likely it is not appropriate.”
Bailey has told the board of education he is pleased with how Dr. Gilliard is performing as the interim high school principal.
In a weekly board update the superintendent wrote, “I have heard good remarks from many people concerning (Dr.) Kermit (Gilliard) being at the high school.”
He also wrote, “I do think since Kermit has been spending time at the high school the climate is changing for the better.”
The dress code being enforced by the CHS administration is as follows:
2014 – 2015 CAIRO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT
1. Students, both male and female, must not wear hoods, hats, caps, shower caps, combs, picks, ear buds, headphones, etc. inside the building.
2. No clothing, or other article such as bandannas, may be worn or displayed which may indicate membership in a gang. The principal or designee shall have the final say in determining if an item is gang related.
3. Clothing or accessories which advertise drugs, alcohol, tobacco or tobacco products, sex, weapons, or which contains inflammatory, vulgar or suggestive writing (slogans), pictures, or emblems shall not be worn. Emblems which are found to be offensive, cause a disturbance, or have a history of a disturbance at school will not be permitted.
4. Shirts that are sheer showing undergarments, cut too low, have lacy inserts exposing skin, backless blouses and blouses with cutouts, razorbacks, spaghetti straps, strapless blouses and dresses, and shirts that expose the waistline are prohibited. Shirts, blouses and dresses must have straps that are a minimum of 2 inches in width. Females will not wear shirts, blouses and dresses that reveal cleavage. Undergarments should not be visible.
5. Skirts/dresses should be a modest length (below the fingertips/mid-thigh) all the way around. Dresses with a sheer overlay at the bottom should have a panel underneath that is below the fingertips/mid-thigh and is not see through. Slits in dresses/skirts may be no higher than fingertip length.
6. Clothing that is too tight or too loose so as to be immodest is prohibited. Leggings, tights, and other stretchy fabrics are not considered pants and must be accompanied by a fingertip length shirt all the way around. Sagging pants (worn below the waistline) shall not be permitted. All pants must be worn at the natural waistline. Belts must be worn with pants that have belt loops, and must be properly fastened.
7. Torn, cut and sloppy looking clothes are not appropriate. Jeans/pants with holes above the knee that reveal skin and/or undergarments are prohibited. Leggings/tights under jeans do not make holes acceptable.
8. Denim or khaki type material shorts may be worn as long as they are approximately knee length. Shorts with frayed (ragged) edges are not permissible.
9. Gym shorts/mesh shorts should be worn in PE only. Students who have PE/Weight Lifting 1st period or 7th period must be dressed appropriately when they arrive on campus and when they leave campus.
10. Sweatpants may not be worn.
11. Shoes/sandals must be worn at all times. Cleated shoes are prohibited inside the building. Sandals or any other open footwear will not be allowed to be worn in the agriculture, construction, metals and/or transportation program.
12. Outer clothing which resembles loungewear, pajamas, or underwear is prohibited. House/bedroom slippers are not acceptable.
13. Hair must be well groomed. Extreme hair styles are not permissible. Hair that is dyed must be a natural color. Braided hair for boys is not permitted.
14. Piercings are allowed in the ears only. This applies to both male and female students.
15. All dress and grooming related issues are at the discretion of CHS administration.