The Daily Northwestern

District 65 to propose changes to dress code, follow ETHS’ example

Evanston%2FSkokie+School+District+65+Board+president+Suni+Kartha+at+a+meeting.+The+district%E2%80%99s+Board+Policy+Committee+decided+Monday+to+begin+to+make+amendments+to+the+district%E2%80%99s+dress+code.
Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board president Suni Kartha at a meeting. The district’s Board Policy Committee decided Monday to begin to make amendments to the district’s dress code.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board president Suni Kartha at a meeting. The district’s Board Policy Committee decided Monday to begin to make amendments to the district’s dress code.

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board president Suni Kartha at a meeting. The district’s Board Policy Committee decided Monday to begin to make amendments to the district’s dress code.

Amelia Langas, Copy Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board Policy Committee decided at a Monday meeting to propose changes to the district’s dress code policy and follow in the footsteps of Evanston Township High School.

In the beginning of the school year, ETHS implemented a policy highlighting marginalized communities and favoring dialogue surrounding dress code. Soon after, a group of ETHS students — who had worked to enact the changes — attended a Board Policy Committee meeting along with District 65 students and parents to advocate for a similar review of the District 65 dress code, board president Suni Kartha told The Daily.

“It was a combination of District 65 students as well as high school students who had been through District 65 saying this is not just an issue for the high school,” Kartha said. “That was really the impetus for us to look at (the ETHS) policy and look at our policy and see what we needed to do.”

Sergio Hernandez, a board member and chairperson of the Board Policy Committee, said after hearing the community’s concerns, the committee asked the district administration to take a look at both the district’s current policy and ETHS’ edited policy. He also said the administration was asked to review policies of nearby school districts.

At Monday’s meeting, the administration presented a memo to the committee. The memo recommended that the district review and update the code, and it also included a summary of current practices at other Illinois school districts as well as at districts in Portland and San Francisco.

Hernandez said the board plans on addressing practices that disproportionately affect female students and students of color in order to create a more equitable framework for the dress code.

“This is the actual racial equity manifesting itself in policy and then in practice and through supports,” he said. “We need to give all stakeholders the capacity to carry out these changes, which in the end will benefit everybody because it makes a less punitive approach and then it kind of works off of this equity lens where we’re not judging others.”

Kartha said the administration will change language in the student handbook to address issues of inequity and body shaming while allowing more freedom in clothing choices.

She also said that the board hopes the proposed changes to the dress code will create an environment more conducive to learning instead of targeting students for violations.

“We had such a focus lately on, ‘How do we address the needs of the whole child and make sure that kids feel comfortable and included and ready to learn at school?’” Kartha said. “So making these changes and making sure that we have the inclusive and welcoming school climate that we want to have for our kids is important.”

Although no concrete policy changes will be enacted until next school year at the earliest, Kartha said the administration will take time over the summer to meet with focus groups to develop specific changes to the dress code.

The board requested that the administration create a “fusion” of the Portland school districts’ code and that of ETHS, she said.

“What we’re telling students and what we’re actually doing in school isn’t going to be about body shaming or discrimination,” Kartha said. “We’re just letting kids be kids and learn and be comfortable and whatnot, and not feel like the adults are necessarily policing what they wear.”

Email: amelialangas@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @amelialangas

Comments