WARRENTON, N.C. — 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.