Petersburg Pilot -

Whale Watching and LeConte Glacier Tours based out of Petersburg Alaska

Students and staff work on dress code


A group of students at Petersburg High School have proposed wording changes to the school’s dress code policy related to yoga pants and leggings. Principal Rick Dormer presented the proposal to the school board at its Oct. 11 meeting alongside staff’s suggested changes to the policy.

“Most of the young ladies in the high school came forward and talked about that our dress code may be a little archaic and that people are wearing leggings and that it can be a professional type of outfit or dress code,” said Dormer at the board meeting.

Those students have since drafted new suggested language for the policy allowing for leggings and yoga pants that are “completely opaque, non-revealing, and of a material thicker than tights.”

This language is very similar to staff’s draft language for a revised policy which states such bottoms “cannot be transparent, revealing, or of a material thinner than tights.” Both the student and staff drafts retain the need to wear shorts, skirts, or a long top to cover leotards, spandex and athletic compression bottoms.

The issue first arose locally last spring when a group of 20 high school students wore yoga pants to school in protest of the school’s current policy, outlined in the student handbook, which states that leggings and tight-fitting bottoms “must be covered to mid-thigh by shorts, skirts or a long top.” They also received signatures on a petition by community members in support of a change to the dress code.

In response to the protest and other on-going discussions on the topic, Dormer and others in the administration asked the students to draft a proposal for an updated policy. Kludt Painter said she thought the staff’s response may have surprised the students.

“I don’t know if they were anticipating that they were going to get a lot of pushback or have to sort of defend something,” she said, noting they were instead encouraged to

give their ideas for new wording.

“We do want to listen,” Dormer said, “nothing is set in stone.”

Overall, Kludt Painter and Dormer agree that the process has been a good one, with students being met with openness to change from the administration and with administrators successfully conveying their concerns for retaining some boundaries and keeping the school aligned with the

professional environment students will encounter after graduation.

“They’ve been very professional,” Dormer said. “I think they have a pretty good grasp of tunderstanding that you can go too far with allowing too many things.”

“I think the conversation was really good in the sense that there was kind of a lot of wrestling about it and the kids could see also that there’s more to it there are a lot of things to consider,” Kludt Painter added.

A working group of students and staff will continue the conversation in the coming months and changes to the policy itself remain on the horizon.


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