School-employee dress code modified

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shorts, denim and sleeveless clothing will be working their way into work attire for Beaufort County Schools staff this school year.
The Beaufort County Board of Education approved changes to the dress code for faculty and staff at this month’s regularly scheduled board meeting.
BCS Superintendent Don Phipps said he updated the dress code based on conversations he had with faculty, staff and the board.
“I feel like, based on the feedback that I’ve gotten from faculty and staff members, that it’s good for them,” he told the board. “And I think it’s also good for us, in terms of making sure that we get professional environments, but also clothing that’s comfortable for faculty members and staff members to wear.”
Other than physical-education teachers, the staff will still not be allowed to wear sweat pants or wind suits. They will be allowed one garment that was, until this year, only permitted for coaches: shorts.
The policy specifies that shorts should be knee-length. Capri-length pants also are allowed.
Before the updated policy, staff and faculty were not allowed to wear sleeveless garments without a jacket or sweater to cover the arms. Strapless and spaghetti-strap garments still require a jacket or sweater, but sleeveless ensembles are now allowed.
School-spirit T-shirts will be allowed on spirit days. Until this year, T-shirts were never allowed.
Principals or immediate supervisors may grant permission for blue jeans for special events. Teachers may also pull out the blue jeans on teacher workdays.
While blue jeans are not allowed most days, other denim options are permitted. Faculty and staff asked for the exception because some clothing comes in a denim blend and colors other than blue. The policy change also allows denim skirts, provided they are not blue-jean material.
“Dr. Phipps, the principals will enforce this dress code, won’t they?” board member Mac Hodges asked.
When Phipps affirmed they would, Hodges said, “I hope so.”
A distinction between casual flip-flops and thong-style dress sandals was the only change to footwear.
“And I like the way you clarified the flip-flop thing,” said board Chairwoman Cindy Winstead. “Because there are a lot of shoes that are thong-type … yet they’re dressy to wear,” she said.
The previous dress code had been in place since the 2005-2006 school year. Board members said they would give this dress code at least two school years before considering additional changes.
The new dress-code policy took effect Monday, which was the first day of school.