(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
Amendments were made allowing more shirt colors and longer shirts before the final vote.
The dress code will go into effect at the beginning of next school year.
Board members Amy Martin, Dixie Parker and Ron Adcock told parents this was not an easy decision to make; Adcock admitted his mind was not made up until Wednesday night when he went through all the pros and cons of a dress code with his wife.
"What is right is not always popular," said Amy Martin. "A good school board does not run a school district, but a good board does ensure that a school district is run well. Some people will be happy [with this decision], some will be unhappy, but at the end of the day we hope everyone can work together."
The dress code now states, "In addition to the white dress code colors, individual schools shall approve up to a selection of four additional solid colors for shirts." Prior to the amendment, dress code colors were white and blue with individual schools selecting three additional solid colors.
Another amendment changed the length limit of shirts that are not intended to be tucked in from three inches to six inches. This section now reads, "Shirts with a squared off tail that reaches no more than six inches below the belt are not required to be worn tucked in, provided they are worn with an undershirt that is tucked in."
Other amendments involved deletion of some wording in order to simplify certain areas of the dress code involving attire for special occasions and the authority of the Bedford County Board of Education.
"The mission of the Bedford County Board of Education is to provide an environment that enables each student to learn and become a good citizen," the draft reads. "In a continuing effort to foster a productive learning climate and improve upon school culture, the Board has established a dress code."
Barry Cooper, chairman of the board, thanked parents for their interest in the matter and assured that all viewpoints were heard. At the end of the day, the board agreed on one thing: The decision was based on what they felt would be the best learning environment for students.
"We appreciate the community's input on this," said Cooper. "I would like to encourage those who participated in the [dress code] discussions to continue their interest in other school-related issues."
Cooper assured parents the dress code is "written in ink, not chiseled in stone," and the board will reassess the dress code next spring.
Approximately 40 visitors waited through a couple of hours of other agenda items to hear the vote. The meeting was moved to Harris Middle School's library to accomodate an expected crowd.
The third draft can be viewed at www.t-g.com/files/ssa-feb.doc
This version of the dress code does not include the amendments.