Green Bay school board discusses dress code policy
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The district’s dress code policy was up for discussion again at the school board meeting Monday, Oct. 7.
Representatives from the Intra-City Student Council (ICSC), along with guidance from Melissa Thiel Collar, district legal counsel and Judy Wiegand, executive director of Secondary Education, presented the board with four options on possible changes to the district’s dress code policy.
The four options vary in regards to hats and hoodies.
“Because this is a student-driven initiative, I think it would help to document the rationale coming from the students and sent to staff as to why the headgear piece is of particular interest,” said Katie Maloney, board member. “Because I agree with all the other changes. But it’s the headgear piece, and I’m not saying I don’t agree with, but I think that is what people are concerned about.”
Over the last couple of months, ICSC representatives have met with each of the middle school and high school principals gathering information on what each building is currently implementing in regards to a dress code and what their opinions are on possible changes, as well as getting the opinions of fellow students.
A survey was also sent out to parents to gauge their opinion on the matter.
There were differing opinions from students, building administration and parents on whether hats and hoodies, with the hood up, should be allowed.
Board members expressed concern on the lack of teacher feedback, especially because they will be most impacted in the classroom.
“I had heard a lot of chatter around the community that ‘We (teachers) didn’t know this was happening’, or ‘We (teachers) didn’t have the chance to provide feedback,’” said Kristina Shelton, board member.
Thiel Collar has been with the district for seven years and said she has worked through a handful of substantial changes in the district.
She said the more feedback collected on any possible change, the better.
“Change is hard for anybody and I think the more input, better the understanding of why the change,” Thiel Collar said. “You have in front of you some pretty monumental changes based on the feedback from the students and the staff that we were able to get. My concern is the buy in. The adults are going to be implementing the policy and I have concerns about what comes next and not affording the people who are closest to the students an opportunity to have a voice in the development of this policy.”
Staff said the limited amount of time the ICSC members had to collect the information decreased the amount of opinions they were able to obtain.
At a meeting in early September, board members guided students and staff to bring back proposal ideas to the board in October.
“As someone who pushed for this to happen sooner – yes I did,” said Board Vice President Andrew Becker. “I didn’t want a mid-year change, but with that being said, what I want even less than a mid-year change is a next-year change. I wish more had happened. I know getting the teacher voice was put in the hands of principals and I know some reached out. I’m not interested in waiting much longer on this. The board is going to have to make a decision in an area where there isn’t a clear community consensus about the hat issue anyways.”
Following a recommendation from the board, a survey is now being sent out to all district staff to get feedback on the proposed changes.
This information will be sent to the board prior to their next meeting Monday, Oct. 21.
Board members will discuss and possibly vote on the issue at that meeting.