Cumberland Times-News

June 17, 2014

Why the fuss?

Hampshire teacher dress code sounds reasonable


Cumberland Times-News

— Maybe we are missing something, but why is the dress code adopted by the Hampshire County Board of Education being made into a big deal by a teachers’ union?

The board has banned the following as unacceptable attire:

Torn clothing, shorts, blue jeans, hat and head wraps, leggings, immodest dress (too short, too tight, too low cut), T-shirt other than school affiliated, spandex, tank tops, see-through clothing, spaghetti straps or strapless and halters, clothing that exposes midriff, exercise sweatsuits-windsuits, beach-style flip-flops, yoga pants and drop crotch pants.

Shorts or sweatsuits are permitted for physical education or field trips; blue jeans only for job-related and/or outside projects for shop, AG, art or science labs.

That sounds like a reasonable dress code to us. Why would a teacher want to wear any of those items while in the classroom or with students?

Regardless, the American Federation of Teachers — West Virginia has asked that the dress code adopted May 19 be rescinded. Teachers are objecting, in part, because they said they had no chance to comment on the policy before it was approved by the school board.

The federation’s attorney sent a June 9 letter to Marianna Leone, superintendent of Hampshire County Schools, requesting the dress code to be withdrawn. Leone had nothing to say in a Monday interview other than the board has talked about the dress code all year and the board is the policymaker.

Arguing for the rescinding, Rob Wolford, an eighth-grade teacher at Romney Middle School, told the Times-News: “It is disheartening to see the Hampshire County Board of Education spend their time and effort on the issue of a dress code when issues such as a levy, deteriorating facilities, poor academic performance, inclusion of noncounty students into our performance ratings, and so forth, face us daily.” He also said if an individual teacher dresses in an inappropriate manner that affects the education of students, then the matter should be addressed directly with the teacher, rather than through a dress code.

We disagree. Having a clear dress code leaves no doubt how teachers are supposed to be attired. Judging by the banned clothing list above, we cannot image any teacher balking at those common-sense restrictions.