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School Board approves update to district Dress Code Policy

The following is an important update to the Seneca Valley School District's Dress Code Policy, effective beginning with the 2024-25 school year. This change comes after a comprehensive review was conducted over the past year by the Seneca Valley Dress Code Committee, which includes both District and building-level administration.

As part of this, we sought input from students, staff and parents through a ThoughtExchange survey distributed last winter. The majority of respondents agreed that the dress code should be respectful and appropriate for a school setting with calls for consistency across the district.  

In addition to gathering community input, the committee sought out and reviewed research articles and related studies focusing on how to shape a dress code that establishes clear expectations while allowing for student expression.

After careful review and consideration, the committee brought a student dress code update before the School Board, which was approved on June 3, and will now become effective beginning with the 2024-25 school year.

The School Board recognizes that each student's mode of dress and grooming is a manifestation of personal style and individual preference. The updated dress code aims to provide a consistent standard for all students. The policy also encourages students to project themselves to other students, staff and visiting guests in a manner that honors the atmosphere of learning in a school environment.

The following are the important points within the updated policy, specific to inappropriate items for the school day, which include but are not exclusive of, the following:

  1. Clothing, apparel, or jewelry that by words, signs, pictures, or any other combinations thereof, advocates or promotes sexual activity, violence, death, suicide or the use of alcohol or drugs, or demeans, degrades or intimidates another because of race, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, religious persuasions, national origin or disability.
  2. Students are required to avoid clothing that excessively exposes the chest or buttocks when standing, sitting or moving. Undergarments may not be exposed. Items of clothing cannot mimic the appearance, style or coverage of undergarments.
  3. Any clothing that is of transparent material, see- through material or has sexually suggestive signs, symbols or phrases.

In addition:

  1. Footwear must be worn at all times.
  2. JROTC uniforms are considered standardized dress on designated days.
  3. Activity-specific dress such as cheerleading uniforms or other athletic uniforms are only permitted on days designated as school spirit days by the building principal or his/her designee.
  4. Where hats are permitted (see Frequently Asked Questions #5 below), they must be worn to allow the face to be visible to staff and not interfere with the line of sight of any student or staff. Hoodies will be worn down so that the face and ears will be visible to school staff.

The policy describes the district’s minimum dress code requirements. Each building has a student handbook, which may contain additional requirements associated with that building. Those specifics will be communicated to you through your child’s building; additional, frequently asked questions are below.

As we move forward into the 2024-25 school year, we believe that these changes will foster a respectful and consistent environment for all students. Thank you for your cooperation and support as we implement these adjustments.


Dress Code Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I wear a shirt with spaghetti/tank straps?
    1. Spaghetti/tank strap tops are permissible so long as they do not excessively expose chest, expose undergarments or mimic the coverage of undergarments.
  1. Can my bandeau be exposed, or may I wear a tube top?
    1. No, no undergarments may be exposed; tube tops on their own are not permissible.
  1. Can I have holes in my jeans?
    1. Holes in jeans are permissible so long as they do not expose buttocks when standing, sitting or moving. Undergarments may not be exposed.
  1. Can I show any midriff?
    1. Some midriff is permissible so long as the top does not mimic the appearance, style or coverage of undergarments. Furthermore, so long as the top does not excessively expose chest while standing, sitting or moving.
  1. Can hats be worn in all grades?
    1. Hats are permitted in grades 9-12; they are not permitted in grades K-8.
  1. What will the consequences look like for dress code violations?
    1. Disciplinary action will be as follows:
      1. First Offense: warning and documented
      2. Second Offense: required to change, student phone taken as collateral if borrowing clothing, call home and documented
      3. Third Offense: after school detention assigned, required to change, phone taken as collateral if borrowing clothing, call home and documented
      4. All subsequent offenses: progressive discipline