Changes in Taft dress code eyed
by BRIAN NADIG
The uniform requirement in the dress code at Taft High School will be suspended for the first two weeks of class in September and may eventually be eliminated.
For the past 15 years students have been required to wear a plain white collared shirt and dark blue or black pants, including jeans. Some exceptions are made for clothing with the school logo, and girls have the option of a dark blue or black skirt.
"I have been the principal of Taft just 44 days, and not a day goes by when at least 50 people question me about our 2014-15 dress code," principal Mark Grishaber wrote in an statement that was posted on the school’s Web site last week. "On an average day I receive over 30 e-mails asking me to please consider changing it."
Grishaber said that he had planned to address the issue in a few months but that he feels that it cannot wait. He said that students will be given dress code guidelines to follow when the school starts and that a decision on the dress code will be made after the school holds a meeting on the issue at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11.
The guidelines allow dark ankle-length pants or jeans without tears or holes and any color shirt or T-shirt, as long as it has sleeves and is not considered offensive. Any shirt must cover the midriff, and girls can wear skirts that cover the knee.
Taft High School Local School Council chairwoman Lisa Schwieger said that she supports Grishaber’s decision and that she hopes there will be permanent changes in the code.
Schwieger cautioned that students will be expected to make reasonable clothing decisions and that some clothing, such as beachwear, should not be tolerated. She said that as in the past, dress code violators should be directed to the dean’s office to get an appropriate shirt that they can wear for the day.
Schwieger said that deans at other schools which have made their dress code less restrictive have told her that the change went smoothly. She said that not having a uniform requirement should lead to fewer confrontations between students and staff.
Grishaber said that he is counting on students to make a solid argument for changing the dress code when the meeting is held. "I feel it’s very important that our school community understands that this administration wants to empower our students and give them a voice in how they are educated," he said.
Some parents have said that the uniform requirement deters some children from enrolling at Taft and that the code dates back to when Taft had gang problems.