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New dress code draws anger in Chambersburg

Updated: Thursday, September 5 2013, 10:29 PM CDT
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

CHAMBERSBURG -- There's the phrase, "dress to impress," but some parents in Franklin County aren't impressed with the way their children's school is telling them how to dress their children.

The Chambersburg Area School District started a new dress code at the beginning of the school year, and parents say it's gone too far. Several children have been sent to the principal's office because they're wearing V-neck shirts, which are no longer allowed.

But they say the dress code isn't being enforced the way it should be.
CBS 21 wanted to interview a couple of parents, but word spread through Facebook like wildfire, and almost 60 parents showed up. 

They all agree there should be a dress code, but the current one is too strict. The district superintendent, however, says not to expect any big changes any time soon.

Monet Brooksmore wore a black, scoop-necked T-shirt on her first day of school. But the shirt was deemed to show too much collarbone and landed her in big trouble. 

The new dress code that's causing the students so much difficulty has guidelines that include no V-necks with or shorts in certain colors. The idea is to make the children look professional.

The superintendent backs the rule, but says he's heard the concerns.

"We believe it's written correctly. Could there be some tweaking? Yes," Joseph Padasak said. 

Meanwhile, some parents of elementary school students say their kids don't want to go to school because they're "scared to death" to get in trouble for their attire.

"We don't want that at any level from case K to high school," Padasak said.

Parents say that everyone wants their kids look presentable, nice and respectful, but sophomore Cassidy Martin says it's too much.

"The male and even female teachers are all staring into you, directly at you, looking you up and down," she said.

Senior Colton Elbell likes it, saying, "With everybody being more modest, you can better focus."

But some students told CBS 21 they've missed class because teachers are more focused on the code than on class. They don't feel welcome in their own district and it's hard to swallow that something that's been a year in the making went into effect, only for the students to have a different standard than the teachers.

They're also angry at what they see as hypocrisy -- demanding the students dress "professionally," but not demanding that of teachers. They're also angry over the blurred lines, with one teacher giving the outfit an approval and another one saying it doesn't meet the new standards.

Some parents question why not just go to uniforms if the district wants to be so draconian, but Padasak says uniforms would cost too much money. He hopes, however, to work with parents to be more clear about what is and is not allowed.

Since the biggest complaint is the subjectivity of the standard, Padasak told CBS 21 he's meeting with school principals at all levels to go through and re-define exactly what means what. He says its new for him and he's asking people to be patient, but he doesn't feel any major changes are coming, at least until next year.

Parents say they plan to voice their concerns to the school board at future meetings.

For a look at the school's dress code, click HERE.

New dress code draws anger in Chambersburg

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