HSE Dress Code Rules to Change

The Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) School District School Board has approved changes to the student dress code following a 5-2 vote on Wednesday. 

The changes mainly include:

  • Prohibiting students from wearing hats and hoods during instructional periods.
  • Banning outfits that reveal a student’s midsection.

Board members Sarah Donsbach and Sarah Parks-Reese voted no to these changes for reasons such as improper processes.

What’s going on?

Parents and teachers are raising concerns because they felt left out of the decision-making process for the new dress code rules.

“When the Hamilton Southeastern School Board met earlier this month to present stricter changes to the district’s dress code, board members had already discussed the proposals without public input (via a Google Doc).” – IndyStar. 

In the Google Document (shared by all seven board members and other HSE administrators), they reviewed the district’s current student handbook and drew up ways to address specific concerns. 

Indiana’s public access counselor believes using Google Docs crosses the line between sharing a written document and breaking the law by holding a virtual meeting without public comment.

Go Deeper

The meeting did not pass additional proposed revisions. These include:

  • Requiring cell phones to be turned off during school hours
  • Students to wear slips or shorts under dresses and skirts 

Nataki Pettigrew, the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion director, said some unapproved revisions could be ‘girl-shaming.’

Going forward

The HSE School Board meets regularly to discuss and vote on issues related to the school district. 

The board’s decisions can significantly impact the school environment and the student’s learning experience.

The board will consider additional changes to the student handbook in restroom conduct, weapons language, discipline, and dress code for the 2024-2025 school year.

View the details on the student handbook changes through the HSE site.

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