School dress code issues may return soon at WHS

School dress codes, a battle that’s been fought for many years, may be back soon for the Wayland Board of Education.

Superintendent Tim Reeves told school board members Monday night that there seems to be a lot of controversy lately, particularly at6 the high school, even though a student handbook policy is in place.

Board Trustee Becky Hohnke said, “These kids have literally gone wild (in challenging attire). Some of these policies aren’t being enforced… This has been a bit of a controversy in the community since school started.”

Reeves said he believes the policy shouldn’t be written in stone, but instead should be regarded as a work in progress. This would enable tweaks in enforcement.

“I want to respect and honor the work that’s been done,” he said. “There is a horse that been out of the stable.”

The superintendent said it’s important to determine what administrators, parents, staff and students want in consistent dress codes, so more information gathering on the process is needed.

However, Trustee Norman Taylor, former school superintendent, cautioned that it is not board members’ role to be involved in enforcement, it is rather in setting policy.

“Our standards are not being enforced, or they’re misinterpreted,” he said. “We need to do what we say (with policy).”

Vice President Cinnamon Mellema agreed, saying, “There is a lot of enforcement,” but acknowledged she’s worried about possible parental backlash and spending too much time on policing dress codes instead of instruction.

Complaints have included girls who reveal too much such as their navels and the length of hair. Sometimes the issue is over what needs to be covered up.

The offending student often is sent home to return with more appropriate attire.

Board member Janel Timmerman Hott said, “We’re trying to raise the bar, not lower it.”

It was agreed that Reeves will meet with building principals to further discuss the issue.  

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