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Austin ISD considers less restrictive student dress code

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AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) – Austin ISD is considering loosening restrictions on certain types of clothing for students

A draft of the district’s proposed dress code said the goal is to allow students the most choices possible without creating a hostile environment. 

On Wednesday, the district held a closed meeting to discuss the drafted rules with a workgroup of parents, teachers and students

“As long as it’s not a distraction, I think the current rules are okay,” said Mario Flores, who has a child attending Fulmore Middle School

A draft of the proposed changes would allow students to wear more types of clothing as long as certain body parts are covered, stating each student must wear a shirt, bottoms and shoes. 

However, baseball hats facing forward or backwards, hoodies that don’t cover the face, spaghetti strap tank tops and short shorts, dresses and skirts would be allowed. 

“I just don’t like the idea of little girls wearing spaghetti straps in the school with short shorts,” said Jane Randolph whose 12-year-old daughter attends Fulmore Middle School

“You know; they’re focusing on their classwork. If that’s the way they want to express themselves, I’m fine with that, but the key here is to minimize any disruptions,” Flores said. 

Clothing showing violent language or images, hate speech, profanity, pornography, and drugs or alcohol would still be prohibited, but the draft specifically states “cleavage should not have coverage requirements” as long as breasts are not exposed. 

“I think that exposing kids, junior high aged students, to sexuality already may not be appropriate,” said Flores. 

“I think there’s no reason why you couldn’t wear a nice T-shirt, shirts, trousers and a longer skirt,” Randolph said. 

In the proposal, the district said the changes are meant to be nondiscriminatory on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, sex, race, ethnicity, religion or individual identity.  

Teachers would no longer be able to ask students to pull up sagging pants or hide bra straps, since visible straps and waistbands would be allowed, as long as the entire undergarment is not showing. 

“How much should AISD intervene? I don’t know what the appropriate answer is, so, I just think continued collaboration between the parents and the teachers is necessary. But removing all rules and limitations or restrictions is maybe a little too much,” said Flores. 

While the district hopes to allow more clothing options for students, some parents would prefer the opposite. 

“I think school uniforms should be in every school,” Randolph said. 

An online survey on the drafted changes ends June 1 and the first draft of the policy will be presented to the board of trustees June 17.

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