Discipline Committee addresses uniform violations


Caroline Cooney

Due to the improper skirt lengths, female students who fail to comply to the skirt policy may be required to change into black or khaki pants. In order to enforce the dress code, a Discipline Committee has been established to create new policies and address existing ones.

On Monday, Feb. 6, Vice Principal of Academics Gary Scholl announced during advisory that teachers would begin to issue more warnings and detentions regarding uniform violations, effective immediately. Students quickly began to talk, and within a few days, students heard that the women whose skirts are deemed too short will be forced to wear khakis as punishment.

According to Vice Principal of Student Affairs and Technology Brian Powell, many of the rumors that students heard are not accurate. However, he has been discussing violations of the student uniform policies with a recently formed Discipline Committee.

The Discipline Committee is composed of faculty members who started meeting over a month ago. According to Powell, their mission is to create new policies and address existing ones amongst the faculty by getting opinions before the policies are implemented and then discussing how to enforce them. “I will use the Discipline Committee to vet decisions regarding the dress code,” he said.

For example, the Discipline Committee has discussed changing the skirt length policy. Though a new policy implemented at the beginning of the school year mandated that the skirts should reach the top of the knee, it has not been effective in deterring all students from changing the length of their skirt, according to Powell.

As a result, the administration is considering the use of an alternative uniform as a consequence for those who have continuously left their inappropriate skirt lengths unaddressed. Female students who do not conform to the dress code may be required to change into black or khaki pants, which will be provided by Powell.

If the policy is put into place, only students who repeatedly commit uniform infractions will have to change into pants. “We are going one by one against offenders. There is one chronic offender in particular who has not fixed her skirt after repeated warnings,” Powell said.

We want our students to look professional and not draw attention to themselves. We don’t want a student to be distracted in class by the hair of the student in front of him that is sticking straight up

— Vice Principal of Student Affairs and Technology Brian Powell

Many teachers, like religion teacher and former Dean of Students Thomas Vierheller, agree that violations against the dress code should be addressed. “If we have a Student Handbook, it should be enforced all of the time,” he said.

Likewise, science teacher Shane Lawler believes “it’s good to get a reminder once in awhile.” However, he is doubtful that being forced to wear khakis will be effective. “They tried to do it in the late 90s, and it didn’t work then. It became like a clique thing, and people who had to wear them got made fun of,” he said.

Some students, however, believe that the recent changes unfairly target the women. “[Making women wear khakis as punishment] is so unfair. I don’t think it should be a rule,” junior Anna Petro said. “I think [teachers are] really cracking down on girls right now. A lot of boys have hair that is very long, and they don’t even care about it right now.”

According to Powell, the faculty and deans are enforcing these rules in order to minimize distractions in the classroom and decrease the level of tolerance the different faculty members have with the violations. “We want our students to look professional and not draw attention to themselves. We don’t want a student to be distracted in class by the hair of the student in front of him that is sticking straight up,” Powell said.

However, students disagree with Powell’s belief that students who are out of uniform can be distracting. “I don’t really look at people’s hair, I don’t really think that’s something that bothers students. [Skirt length] is not really distracting either,” sophomore Aidan Boyle said.

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The pants might even become an official winter uniform option for women starting next year. Alternatively, the Discipline Committee is thinking about mandating some form of leg covering in the winter months in the form of leggings or tights. “Girls want to be warm, and we want girls to be comfortable. I’ve been listening to female teachers to get their opinions,” Powell said.

Although these rules might be implemented soon, students will have time to change problems concerning their uniform before they are punished. “The Discipline Committee has given a few things that we can all focus on as a school, like shoes for next week. We have given out a lot of warnings at the moment so that we don’t just throw a whole bunch of students in detention,” Powell said.

Paige Alban and Ianna Pirozzi are In-Focus Editors for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.