School Board Policy 504 -
Student Dress and Appearance

Adopted: july 22, 1996
REVISED: june 11, 2001
revised: august 25, 2003
revised: november 8, 2007
revised: january 11, 2010
revised: march 11, 2013

Revised: february 20, 2014
revised: june 10, 2017

REVISED: July 15, 2019
Revised: January 10, 2022
Revised: September 11, 2023

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to enhance the education of students by establishing expectations of dress and grooming that are related to educational goals.

II. General Statement of Policy

A. The policy of this school district is to encourage students to be dressed appropriately for school activities. This is a joint responsibility of the student and the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).

B. Students' rights to choose their dress and appearance for school and school-related activities will be protected provided that the clothing may not include the following:

1. Clothing that is disruptive to the educational process.

2. Clothing bearing a message or image which is lewd, vulgar, or obscene.

3. Apparel promoting products or activities that are illegal for use by minors.

4. Objectionable emblems, badges, symbols, signs, words, objects or pictures on clothing or jewelry communicating a message that is racist, sexist, or otherwise derogatory to a protected minority group, evidences gang membership or affiliation, or approves, advances or provokes any form of religious, racial or sexual harassment and/or violence against other individuals as defined in School Board Policy 413.

5.Attire that creates a material and substantial disruption to the educational process, school operations, or a school sponsored activity; that can reasonably be forecasted to create a disruption; or that reflects aggression, including microaggression, toward any protected class.

6. Clothing or accessories with words, pictures, caricatures, based on stereotypes of a specific gender, race ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

7. Clothing or accessories with American Indian team names, logos or mascots that depict stereotypes.

8. Any apparel or footwear that would damage school property.

C. It is not the intention of this policy to abridge the rights of students to express political, religious, philosophical, or similar opinions by wearing apparel on which such messages are stated. Such messages are acceptable as long as they are not racist, sexist, lewd, vulgar, obscene, defamatory or profane, or do not advocate violence or harassment against others. Specifically, but not exclusively, wearing or displaying the Confederate flag, a swastika, and KKK signs are prohibited on school property or while attending school district activities.

D. The school district will not prohibit hair styles, including but not limited to hair texture, braids, locks, and twists.

III. Procedures

A. Enforcement of student dress and appearance will be approached with careful consideration and sensitivity, with the goals of supporting students as they express themselves and pursue their full potential, of not shaming students, and of minimizing loss of instructional time. When possible, dress and appearance matters should be addressed privately with students, should seek to determine whether factors exist that impact the student's ability to comply with the student dress and appearance policy, and should seek to address such issues.

B. When, in the judgment of the administration, a student's appearance, grooming, or mode of dress interferes with or disrupts the educational process or school activities, or poses a threat to the health or safety of the student or others, the student will be directed to make modifications or will be sent home for the day. Parents/guardians will be notified.

C. The administration may recommend a form of dress considered appropriate for a specific event and communicate the recommendation to students and parents/guardians. The school district will not prohibit an American Indian student from wearing American Indian regalia, Tribal regalia, or objects of cultural significance at a graduation ceremony.

D. Likewise, an organized student group may recommend a form of dress for students considered appropriate for a specific event and make such recommendation to the administration for approval.

Legal References:
U. S. Const., amend. I
Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969)
B.W.A. v. Farmington R-7 Sch. Dist., 554 F.3d 734 (8th Cir. 2009)
Lowry v. Watson Chapel Sch. Dist., 540 F.3d 752 (8th Cir. 2008)
Stephenson v. Davenport Cmty. Sch. Dist., 110 F.3d 1303 (8th Cir. 1997)
B.H. ex rel. Hawk v. Easton Area School Dist., 725 F.3d 293 (3rd Cir. 2013)
D.B. ex rel. Brogdon v. Lafon, 217 Fed.Appx. 518 (6th Cir. 2007) 
Hardwick v. Heyward, 711 F.3d 426 (4th Cir. 2013)
Madrid v. Anthony, 510 F.Supp.2d 425 (S.D. Tex. 2007)
McIntire v. Bethel School, Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 3, 804 F.Supp. 1415 (W.D. Okla. 1992)
Hicks v. Halifax County Bd. of Educ., 93 F.Supp.2d 649 (E.D. N.C. 1999) 
Olesen v. Bd. of Educ. of Sch. Dist. No. 228, 676 F.Supp. 820, (N.D. Ill. 1987)

Cross References:
WBLASB Policy 413 (Harassment and Violence)
WBLASB Policy 506 (Student Discipline)
WBLASB Policy 525 (Violence Prevention)