WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Two years ago, Wake County schools passed a uniform dress code. As this school year comes to an end, did the policy really work?
WRAL's cameras spotted students wearing short skirts, short shorts and short shirts at area Wake County High Schools. School board members Patti Head and Bill Fletcher looked at our videotape and called them violations.
"There's evidence that there are some issues we need to deal with," Fletcher said.
The Wake County school board passed a system-wide dress code in 2002 that prohibits strapless shirts, saggy pants and excessively short or tight outfits.
"We do have instances where children will come to school and change," Southeast Raleigh H.S. principal John Modest said.
Principals are charged with enforcing the dress code. Modest said it can be a difficult job.
"We have students who like to test the rules," he said.
Modest's students agree with his assessment. Girls wear shirts that fall in the gray area. These shirts often come all the way down showing no skin or ride up, revealing too much.
"A couple of weeks ago, we had a day where almost every girl wore a spaghetti strap shirt. A lot of them got sent home," student Genise Thornsen said.
Modest said principals walk a fine line between keeping the peace and trying to teach students how to look professional.
"We know that in the workforce, you can't go to work with your belly showing or with spaghetti straps. It's just inappropriate," he said.
"I think it's working to the degree possible," Modest said. "I thin in terms of having total compliance, we'd have to have something like uniforms."
Until then, his plan is to cover up students who are not covered up enough.
"We have a little extra supply of T-shirts here," Modest said.
Head and Fletcher said they have not received much feedback since the policy was passed. If they hear complaints, they say they may have to ask the superintendent to talk with principals.