The South Sanpete School District has adopted a new student dress and grooming code that invites cooperation rather than confrontation.
It asks students to, "Please wear underclothing."And to, "Please wear shoes along with socks or stockings."
Beards are not acceptable. Mustaches are, but, "If you wear a mustache, please keep it well-trimmed, neat and clean," the code asks.
The new standards were developed by a 12-member committee that included school administrators, teachers, board members, parents and students.
The old code was rigid. It attempted to define acceptable hair length for boys, for example, in terms of inches, according to Paul Gottfredson, district business manager. And it invited rebellion and confrontation, he added.
The tone of the new code is conciliatory. It asks students to avoid extremes: skin-tight clothing; offensive slogans, patches and buttons; tank-type shirts; low-cut blouses.
The committee was guided by the philosophy that "the way we dress influences our behavior," Gottfredson said.
But, there is an iron rod apparent below the gentle surface of the new code: There will be a notification to the parents that a change is required if a student is deemed by school authorities to be out of compliance; suspension will result for a second infraction, with re-admission to school after satisfactory commitments have been made.
Some of the old code's standards were a response to the "hippy" era years ago of long hair and sloppy grooming. The committee evidently felt it was time for a change, Gottfredson said.