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Wake Students Test New Dress Code Policy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Students in Chatham, Johnston, Nash, Orange and Wake counties returned to school Monday.

Dress Code Gets Mixed Reviews

On top of the anxiousness many students feel on the first day of school, many Wake County students had to adjust to a new dress code.

A new policy bans middle and high school students from wearing clothes that are too revealing or distracting, including see-through fabrics, baggy pants, hats, strapless tops, clothes showing bare midriffs, and anything too tight or too short.

Also banned are chains or spikes or accessories that could be used as a weapon and anything school leaders deem distracting or a threat to health and safety.

The school board approved the new standards with input from students, parents and faculty. The goal is a better learning atmosphere without too many distractions.

Most students at Cary High School heeded the warning. Those who did not said they should be able to express themselves.

"I think a student has a right to express themselves with clothing and some things are more comfortable. When it's hot, you like to wear sleeveless things and tank tops," student Amanda Dixon said.

Some other students are taking the high ground.

"Because I'm a Christian," student Tom Hoover said, "it makes it easier for people to keep their morals when girls aren't dressing with revealing clothing on."

Parents seem to support the policy, but admit it can be challenging.

"I like it, my daughter does not," parent Tracy Gregory said. "It's a little difficult to find clothes that she wants to wear to school and that she can wear to school."

Students who do not follow the code are warned and told to change clothes. Repeated violations may result in disciplinary action.

Schools are not keeping tabs on how many students receive warnings and accommodations are being made on the basis of a student's religious beliefs and for medical conditions.

Wake County school faculty and employees must also follow a dress code. The policy requires them to dress in a manner that is appropriate and professional in light of their work environment. School principals will use their discretion in enforcing all of the new dress code rules.

Buses Roll Throughout County

In Wake County, 724 school buses took to the road, picking up students across the county.

Mechanics were on standby in case of problems, but school transportation officials anticipated the biggest problem would be students who did not get picked up from their assigned stops.

Each bus driver is assigned a series of routes for every district, but it is not until after the first day of school that adjustments are made to the routes.

Wake County school officials are asking parents to be patient as they work out the kinks. Parents with complaints or questions about their child's bus route should call 856-8050.

New Schools Open

The start of the 2002-2003 school year marked the opening of three new Wake County schools. Ballentine Elementary and Middle Creek High, which follow the traditional calendar, officially opened Monday morning. Moore Square Museums Magnet Middle, which operates on a modified calendar, opened July 29.

The opening of the three schools brings the total number of schools in the system to 125, serving more than 105,000 students.

Holly Spring Traffic Hassles

For some students in Holly Springs, traffic was the first lesson of the day. Three schools on Holly Springs Road meant a mile-long backupand caused some students to miss the first bell.

"We hope that after the first week, a number of the children will start riding the bus as opposed to being brought to school by their parents," said a Holly Springs police officer.

Eight officers were on hand to direct traffic along the road Monday, but the town said it will have to cut that number back by next week.


Valonda Calloway


Tom Lawrence


Emily Lopez, Reporter
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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