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The Cape Girardeau School District will embark on a new dress code this year, in hopes of creating a more learning-friendly environment in the classroom.
The issue of the dress code has been hotly debated in this community, with many people making arguments against it. Many supported the move, saying the code will make it easier on students and parents to choose clothing for school every day. And that the code will mean fewer distractions during learning time.
The district worked its way through a very public process, made some concessions and will begin enforcing it when school starts.
Last week, the district had something of a practice run at orientation sessions at the high school. Students were asked to wear clothing that adheres to the code so advice could be given on a one-on-one basis. About half of the students who attended appeared to be in total compliance, wearing a collared, solid color shirt with khakis or plain jeans, tucked in with a belt. Some wore school T-shirts, which are allowed by the code, but wore torn jeans and flip-flops, which are not. The school district also had a fashion show for freshman orientation last week. There was a huge emphasis on the dress code during orientations all week long.
Regardless of how you feel about the dress code, the district is going out of its way to make sure families and students understand what the new rules are.
There will be a learning curve on the dress code enforcement by school officials and students, as students try to test the limits of the code and as the teachers and administrators try to make it fair for everyone. Here's hoping for patience and cooperation when the doors open Thursday.
A copy of the dress code can be found at www.semissourian.com.