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Warren County students adjust to new dress code

Posted August 13, 2008

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— Some Warren County students are returning to school this week and adjusting to a new dress code, which has created controversy among parents and students.

On the first day at Warren County High School, about 40 students were told they didn’t comply with the new dress code. Many spent the day attending in-school suspension.

Brody Dunham missed the first day of his senior year after he wore a pink polo shirt to school. The shirt violated the county’s new school dress code, which states that shirts must be white or light blue with a collar. Each school, including elementary, can select an additional color that students may wear for shirts, ties and socks.

District-wide, bottoms, which have to be pants, skirts or walking-length shorts, must be khaki, black or navy blue. If the bottom a student wears has belt loops, a belt must be worn, according to the dress code.

Taylor Goubeaux had to contact her parent because she didn’t wear a belt with her khakis. Students were given the option to conform to the dress code or be sent to in-school suspension.

“I thought it was pretty stupid how you had to go home because you didn’t have a belt on,” Goubeaux said.

Brody Dunham’s father, Ronald Dunham, disagrees with the dress code.

“I’m arguing for our freedoms,” Dunham said.

Ronald Dunham and other parents said the school system doesn't have the right to tell their kids what to wear.

“These kids have to dress like clones of each other,” said Tamar Goubeaux, Taylor Goubeaux's mother.

Parent Patricia Powell agrees with the dress code, however. Powell said the way some students were dressed last school year was embarrassing.

"It brings about a sense of unity, and the atmosphere is conducive when everyone is on one accord," Parent Lorrie Crawley said.

All colors worn must be solid, with no logos allowed. The district prohibits any clothing, apparel or accessory that denotes membership or affiliation with a gang, the code states.

School Superintendent Dr. Ray Spain said the dress code should cut down on "gang-like" activity in the schools.

A parent is contacted to bring the student the proper clothing at the first infraction. A parent meeting follows with a second violation of the code. Third and fourth violations result in suspension. A fifth violation results in a recommendation for long-term suspension.

The middle and elementary schools in Warren County will implement the new dress code when they open Aug. 25.

Faculty and staff are also required to follow a dress code. The code does not specify what colors employee clothing must be, but halters, tank-tops, see-through garments, shirts with revealing necklines, sleeveless tops and spaghetti straps are not permitted.


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  • ridgerunner Aug 14, 2008

    Clover1019: Are you saying you would turn down a good high paying job if it had a dress code you disagreed with? Rules are not "meant to be broken" they are meant to help establish a level of society. Some of the things I have seen kids wearing in the mall would not look good on a scarecrow. If you consider fashion a part of freedom of speech you do not have much to say.

  • grammaladybug Aug 14, 2008

    I am glad to see stories like this. As a teacher in Harnett County, I was happy to see they are beginning a uniform policy at our alternative school...I wish it were at ALL High Schools. I would gladly embrace such a policy for teachers too.

  • beachboater Aug 14, 2008

    Five years ago, I would have been totally against a dress code. Today I think it's a good idea. There are always pros and cons, but the way kids dress today, GEEZ I would have never let mine go anywhere looking like some I see today.

    Go for it and unless really bad happens because of it, keep it in place. I wish our school system would just enforce the dress code which is really pretty lax.

  • beachboater Aug 14, 2008

    "colors employee clothing must be, but halters, tank-tops, see-through garments, shirts with revealing necklines, sleeveless tops and spaghetti straps are not permitted"

    If I had a teacher that wore a see-through tank top with a revealing neckline I would have paid a lot more attention in class. I'm not sure what I would have learned, but I would have given the teacher my undivided attention.

  • shep8851 Aug 14, 2008

    With the dress code--it will cut down considerably on the thefts at schools--kids wearing $200. sneakers/basketball shoes, and qualifiying for free and reduced lunches. Kids have been assaulted by others trying to get their tennis shoes. I think enforced dress codes like this are great...

  • luvbailey Aug 14, 2008

    Hats off to the Warren County Schools.

  • emandmikey Aug 14, 2008

    I think it's great - cuts down on competition for 'cool' clothes with the kids, and cuts down on distracting clothing too. It makes lower-income kids fit in better and they don't have to think about their clothes. Kids need to focus on learning in school, not fashion, they can do that on the weekends or summer break. And if you're worried about the kid expressing individuality - challenge them to do that with their classroom work, not their clothing.

  • babyblue2 Aug 14, 2008

    clover 1019.......obvisously you have never been to WC schools, or warren county for that matter. don't feel sorry for the students. they needed this. they needed something to instill in them the concepts of structure, respect and discipline. they definitely were not getting it from their home sources. i live in warren county. i know. as for fashion, looking like hoochies, thugs and gangstas is not fashion. it's a lack of respect for yourself.

  • tank1234 Aug 14, 2008


  • clover1019 Aug 14, 2008

    This is horrible, i feel bad for those kids. Im thankful I never had to worry about that. Fashion is apart of your freedom of speech, what else are they going to take away? Besides who wants to wear those ugly dull colors everyday. blah! When they start to work they should consider what they will be expected to wear everyday. If its not something they can deal with its simple dont work there. Just like i would switch schools if I was stuck in that stuffy environment Rules are meant to be broken. wear what you want to wear....as long as it looks good on you!