Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DeKalb County School Board Passes New Dress Code! How Do You Feel About the New Dress Code?


The DeKalb County School System Dress Code is listed below and will go into affect in the fall and all parents need to become familiar with it so as to make sure they send their children to school dressed appropriately this fall. Read the new dress code below and please provide us your feedback as to how you feel about the new dress code. Will there be a fight in the court system with any of our parents who feel this is against their child's constitutional rights?

STUDENT DRESS CODE
The atmosphere of a school must be conducive to learning. A student's appearance can positively or negatively impact the climate of a school. Students must adhere to DeKalb School System dress code requirements. Students who fail to comply with the DeKalb School System dress code requirements may be charged with Offense #25 -Student Dress Code Violation which is posted below the dress code.

1. Students are expected to follow all school rules governing safety in specialized programs that may require the wearing of protective clothing, safety glasses, or other similar requirements.

2. Clothing or jewelry that disrupts the educational process or endangers the health or safety of other students, staff or visitors is prohibited.

3. The wearing of clothing, insignia, symbols, or adornments worn or carried on or about a student which promote gangs, the use of controlled substances, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco is prohibited.

4. The wearing of clothing which shows offensive and/or vulgar words, pictures, diagrams, drawings, or includes words or phrases of a violent nature, a disruptive nature, a sexual nature, or words or phrases that are derogatory regarding a person's ethnic background, color, race, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited.

The wearing of pants below the waist line, bare midriffs, halter tops/tank tops, tops/blouses revealing cleavage, short shorts, net/see through garments, flip-flops, between-the-toe shoes without heels, bedroom shoes, or other footwear that interferes with freedom of movement and dresses, pants, or skirts with high splits is prohibited. Note: Students/Parents are urged to review local school handbooks for any additional requirements related to student dress.
STUDENT DRESS CODE VIOLATION
All students are expected to adhere to the Dress Code and any additional requirements listed in the local school regulations. The following applies to all student dress code violations:
First Offense: Verbal Reprimand, Contact Parent and In-School Suspension (ISS) until End of Day or Correction of the Violation;

Second Offense: Required Parent Conference and two (2) Days ISS;

Third Offense: Contact Parent, three (3) Days ISS and Local Formal Hear
ing, which may result in up to ten (10) days ISS, Local Probation and/or parent attend classes with student in lieu of ISS. Chronic violation of this expectation will result in the charge of #19a - Repeated Violation of School Rules and a possible referral to an alternative setting upon a finding of guilty by the Student Evidentiary Hearing Committee.

77 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

Outside of the "consequences", I don't see any differences than in the past dress code. Am I missing something?

pscexb said...

Good point DunwoodyMom! This looks as though they are simply planning to enforce a code that was already in the books.

In earlier BoE meetings, they discussed the possibility of requiring uniforms. I believe that 'could' have been challenged as being unconstitutional for a public school. IMO, that would have been a not so subtle move to put schools in an enforcement mode with respect to attire.

Ella Smith said...

There are some slight changes. The pants at the waist I believe are a change. The flip flops I believe are a change.

I agree with the dress code. I hope it will be enforced equally throughout the county. IT will be interesting to see how the parents react. Will some parents resist the dress code?

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if the dress code is enforced or if the school board back down like they did the last time they tried to have a dress code. They did not support Dr. Brown.

pscexb said...

Excuse me for being anal. I see these statements being different from last year:

flip-flops, between-the-toe shoes without heels, bedroom shoes, or other footwear that interferes with freedom of movement

I like the "between-the-toe shoes without heels" :) I believe they are talking about athletic slides.

This is the Student Code of Conduct from last school year:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/safety/files/CF94E23E9CC342C89C35B60EFAAF4546.pdf

Page 6 addresses the Dress code.

The dress code has ALWAYS been in this document. Enforcement has ALWAYS been a challenge, especially in the HSs. They even had some problems with the 'Tuck and Pull' policies last year.

Dr. Brown attempted to implement a uniform policy. Once the board started feeling heat from citizens, they backed off of this. It remains to be seen if teachers will have support of administrators and adminstrators will have support of the central office in attempts to enforce this policy.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I can see some students at DHS as not happy with the denial of flip-flops. :) Mine included.

Ella Smith said...

Flip flops are one of the most expensive shoes I have to buy my teenagers. They have to have those real expensive ones that last for ever. Someone took my college son's expensive flip flops the other day and I was going to buy him some school shoes and all he wants is a new pair of those expensive flip flops. I see this as being a problem.

I do understand that flip flops on grade schools students may be a problems but high school students know how to wear them very well and they really do not cause harm to anyone. I do not see them as inappropriate either. Again, these may be a big problem for many students because they are very fashionable and trendy and really are not a health hazard or cause any problems that I could see. Maybe I am missing something.

Pattie Baker said...

Point of clarification re: the new Dunwoody 4/5th grade school. It is not a charter school. Can it legally require a different dress code from the Dekalb County School dress code? Or is the "plain is perfect, spirit wear is super" "dress code" merely a suggestion? And does anyone else find it a little "off" to have a slogan that says "plain is perfect"?

Anonymous said...

No, they can't require it, only recommend it.

BUT the survey of parents showed 85 percent or parents supported a uniform for the new school, so you can expect to see many kids conforming. It isn't much of a dress code -- either Duwnoody Elementary t-shirts, any of the feeder schools t-shirts, any colored collared shirt and I think khaki, blue or jean bottoms.

(Modeled after Peachtrees)

Anonymous said...

RE:Dunwoody Elem dress code "suggestions" Seems as though I read that shirts (collared) may have a logo (spirit preferred) but otherwise acceptable if smaller than a quarter. Anyone else see this?

Kim Gokce said...

I think it is a fair debate as to whether the public system should have a dress code at all. As a practical matter, I think attempts to enforce any dress code other than uniforms is doomed to fail. By definition, unless the code requires "uniform" standards that are "uniformly" enforced, it is not enforceable IMHO. Hard to avoid interpretation and unfair targeting without an actual uniform ...

Dunwoody Mom said...

From the Dunwoody ES website:

Will there be a dress code in place?
Yes. Our catchphrase for the year will be "Plain is Perfect, and Spirit Wear is Super!"

Children are expected to wear solid, single color shirts and pants, shorts, skirts, skorts, etc. We would prefer the students wear Dark Blue, Light Blue, or White shirts. Clothing shall not have writing, graphics, patterns, logo's larger than a quarter unless it is spirit wear.

Children are encouraged to wear the spirit wear from any school in the feeder pattern.

Of course, all children will be expected to follow the DeKalb County School System Code of Student Conduct which establishes an enforceable dress code designed to protect instructional focus and time on task in the school building for a public school.

Kim Gokce said...

@DunwoodyMom: That is the kind of policy that is more easily enforced. It's very encouraging - I hope they succeed.

Another quick point about dress code standards ... anything but a specified uniform is nearly impossible to keep updated and enforceable ... if an item isn't specifically prohibited, then a student can arguably wear it. With uniforms, there is no need to manage an ever-growing list of prohibited items.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dunwoody Mom, I knew I saw that somewhere. The info on the D Elem site is fairly straight forward and seems reasonable to implement. I actually think that a uniform or dress code guidelines like this are great. Makes life a lot easier for all parties concerned. Perhaps implementation is a challenge, (especially with the older groups) but isn't that the case with all rules.

Anonymous said...

My child goes to Montgomery ES and we sere told that if our student did not wear the uniform that they would be sent home and MES is not a charter school. So there needs to be some clarification there.

themommy said...

Anon

Were you specifically told uniform or that they had to follow the system's dress code rules?

Anonymous said...

The dress code is a secondary, at best, issue, at least at the high-school level. The BOE should attach much more importance to a consequential ban on cell phones and mp3 players. Their use during class is rampant, particularly in the south-Dekalb schools. Yet another perverse example of how low expectations foster a dysfunctional environment.

Ella Smith said...

I agree as a high school teacher that the problem of cell phones and mp3 players is much more harmful to learning in the high school setting.

It is interesting when I catch a student on the phone when 4 out of 5 times they tell me they are on the phone with their parents. Most of the time they tell me their parents called them and they had to answer their parents phone call. I do know that high school student lie. I have one and he is no different but I think parents need to think about what they are doing when they call their children during the school day.

Anonymous said...

This is the Anon from MES again. I was told that they had to wear the logo shirt and the correct shorts or they would be sent home to change clothes.

My feeling is MES is not a charter school, therefore it should fall under the DCSS student code of conduct here. I feel like I should have to choice of wether to send my child in a uniform or send them in apporiate school attire.

If I choose to send my child to a charter school then, I should adhere to that schools dress code policy, but I happen to live in the MES area.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Interesting, Anonymous is correct....This is from Montgomery's website. My question is WHO adopted this mandatory dress code? And since Montgomery is not a charter school, who authorized this? This would never stand the test in a legal test.

Montgomery Elementary School has
adopted a mandatory school dress code for the 2009-2010 school year.


http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/montgomery/documents/Dress%20Code%2009-10.pdf

Cerebration said...

The Lakeside PTA sent out an email and conveniently underlined the changes to the code - thanks guys!

This is the underlined text:

tops/blouses revealing cleavage,

flip-flops, between-the-toe shoes without heels, bedroom shoes, or other footwear that interferes with freedom of movement

Also - an aside - can anyone clarify what kind of clothing or jewelry would "endanger the health or safety of other students"?

Anonymous said...

Anon from MES again.

I guess the PTA did it. They are the ones that really pushed it since MES is filled with students who could not get into OLA, or St. Martin's. (Need to keep the status symbol up).

I really can not see them denying my student an education because I choose not to pay (a lot of money by the way) for a school uniform, and another set of clothes when they come home.

MES is not a charter school, How can they do this? When you talk to the principal, she states that is what the parents wanted. Well she did not ask me. Yes, I did fill out the questionaire that we had to do online and had asked my specific questions. Needless to say I am still waiting on my answer. Just like DCSS. Move something through and want answer the questions that are asked before them. Some how they get deaf ears right quick.

Cerebration said...

It's deja vu all over again!

We've all been down this rabbit trail before - with Johnny Brown. From what I recall, "uniforms" can't be enforced - even so much as declaring that you need to wear a yellow polo shirt and khakis. I spent about $150 on 'special' clothing for my 4th grader at the time and by Christmas, the whole thing had fizzled out and you were deemed a dweeb if you wore the 'uniform'...

This too shall pass.

pscexb said...

Anon from MES, I recall hearing at a Board meeting that if at least 85% of the parents of a school vote for a uniform policy, it can be implemented. That has to be done by a vote.

I think 'most' parents can support a dress code that clearly identifies unacceptable clothing in the school house. I know I don't want to see young men wearing 'wife beaters' to school. I see that more than I care in public.

IMO, a uniform code deserves parental buy-in and more discussion. I saw some students at a MS wearing khaki pants and white polo shirt. I commented to a teacher standing nearby that I though they looked nice. The teacher in turn commented that those students were subjected to teasing and harrassment by other students, usually out of sight from the teachers. Could this be considered bullying?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Oh, goodness, please do not tell me that Montgomery administraots/PAT are not using that online Dress Code survey as "proof" that the parents want the dress code? How many parents even complete that survey?

Anonymous said...

Anon from MES.

Yes, they used the online form as their proof.

So I wonder can I get a transfer since I really do not want my child to wear a uniform.

I understand that uniforms are great and keeping everyone the same, but it is my choice not to send my child to a private or charter school.

That is were I do not see where they can do this to my child.

Ella Smith said...

It will be interesting to see if this school board backs down or supports their decision.

Anonymous said...

I beleive that the school board is serious this time. There are elements in this that are going to hurt the teachers.

If a teacher misses a student not dressed correctly, they are going to have a permanent write up in their file.

I know at my school we are going to have teachers assigned to the bus lane and the car pool lane next year. That way they will already know to go back home with the parent (if they come by car, and they will already go to the holding room if they come by bus).


We would rather those students not be allowed onto school the school campus than to have a write up in our file.

So there is more teeth in the dress code than in prior dress codes.

Anonymous said...

I have heard (although I have not seen it in print) that parents at Dunwoody Elementary will be able to sign a waiver if they do not wish to participate in the portion of the dress code that is beyond what DCSS specifies. I do not think that a public school can deny a child education because they are not wearing a certain color shirt.

I realize that many parents like uniforms, but I do not. It gives the students one more thing to dislike about school (I don't think my middle schooler will ever like collared shirts again!). It doesn't address the economic disparities, since some have Wal-mart polls while others have collared shirts from Hollister. And, it's definitely not cheaper, since I have to buy clothes that are worn only for school. Once clothing is associated with the school 'uniform' nobody wants to wear it after school.

I wonder if any of the uniform proponents would enjoy wearing the same clothes everyday.

Ella Smith said...

Actually when my sons did wear uniforms in grade school I found it so much easier to dress them and much less expensive than it is now.

The research does indicate that uniforms do reduce discipline problem and improve test scores. I think that this is a reason to have a uniform policy but I do not think you can have a dress code be successful without uniforms. I think you must always give parents an options for their child not to wear uniforms but if the majority of the students are wearing uniforms then most of the time all of the children want to wear uniforms. This is a procedure that must start in grade school, then go to middle school and then high school. There is no way to just one day require all the students to wear uniforms. This is definitely going to be a situation that could end in failure. If you start when the children are young and continue the trend then this is all these student know and all they are adjusted to so there will not be a big issue with the parents.

themommy said...

Anon--

Many private schools uniforms are indeed the same day in and day out. However, the Dunwoody Elementary School dress code allows for a tremendous amount of variety, feeder school t-shirts, DES t-shirts, polo type shirts and almost any kind of bottom.

When I see the kids walking to Peachtree, no two look remotely alike.

Anonymous said...

Themommy,

You're right...they don't look alike. So, what exactly is the point of 'uniforms'?

Anonymous said...

Ella,

The studies regarding the impact of uniforms is quite mixed. See literature by Brunsma and Rockquemore about the effectiveness of uniforms.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 12:31

The larger issue is cellphones and other personal electronics. I fully support enforcing the existing ban on use during school hours.

Cell phone use during class time is disruptive. Parents should never be calling or texting their children during school.

Worse, students are using the devices to cheat on tests by sending answers to others and by looking up answers on the internet.
This is not limited to S. DeKalb schools. Cheating is rampant at all schools.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I can truthfully say Anon 11:25 PM is right on: Your children are using text messaging to cheat on tests and exams. it doesn't matter if the student is black and white; your kids are absolutely using cell phones and PDA's to cheat. Crawford Lewis knows this. Gloria Talley know this. Bob Moseley know this. Even in over her head Audria Berry know this.

And I have heard first hand that the DCSS administration is unwilling to ban all cell phone and PDA usage during the school day because they are unwilling to stand up to a-hole parents.

Way to back up your teachers, Crawford, Gloria and Bob.

Anonymous said...

As an "a-hole" taxpayer...on the topic of kids cheating with cell phones and pdas...what's your point? We all know the a-hole parents can get call detail records for the phones their a-hole kids are using, so clearly they just don't want to know.

We all need to put down the Kool-Aide and take off the rose colored glasses. Public schools are somewhere between government daycare and part-time prisons (school "resource" officer, fer crissakes) and the public, via the ballot box, has pretty much said they like it that way. As for uniforms, orange jumpsuits seem appropriate---and you might want to keep the flipflops.

Anonymous said...

And I have heard first hand that the DCSS administration is unwilling to ban all cell phone and PDA usage during the school day because they are unwilling to stand up to a-hole parents.

That is rather harsh. Teachers and administrators have the right to take cell phones from students if they are being used and/or causing an interruption during class time. If the teachers choose not to do so, quite honestly, that is on them.

No Duh said...

I'm thinking clothing that is harmful and dangerous would be pants that are falling off. In that, should the student have to run (away from fire, guns fire, etc.) he would surely trip and fall -- thereby creating a "speed bump" upon which other students would fall.

In thinking about the evacuation of Columbine, I don't remember seeing pants falling down when those kids left with their hands on their heads.

Anonymous said...

While I disagree with some of the language, I completely agree with the teacher's frustration over cell phone usage during class hours.

I can't imagine that any teachers, parents or administrators think banning flip flops is more important than eliminating the blatant cheating in our high school classrooms through the use of texting and PDAs. I am calling out DCSS administration and principals to enforce the rules on cell phones during classroom time.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher in middle school in DCSS. I can tell you it is so much harder to catch kids than you think.

I noticed on my facebook account that a student of mine was going onto facebook during class time. I watched him for several days and could still could not see him do anything. When I finally caught him, he was putting his hand in his pocket only for a moment and typing his little short "tweet".

The kids have the numbers memorized and are a lot smarter than I can ever be.

The only way to stop the madness is to leave the cell phone at home. Telling them to leave it turned off in their pocket is not enough.

I am tired of collecting phones. At my school they know me as the cell phone nazi but when you collect 10 - 15 a day I am so scared that I am going to lose one or have one stolen from me.

Plus when you call a parent to tell them that you collected their students phone and that they will have to come and retrieve it, they call the area superintendent who always gives in to the parent.

No back bone I tell you.

Anonymous said...

Can't even believe I am reading this ! What is wrong with this? Leave the cell phone at home or in the locker, What am I missing?

Ella Smith said...

I agree totally that cells phones and MP3 players are more of an issue. I do not see even baggy pants sagging as an issue as long as I do not see underwear and you do not have to go around holding your croach to keep them up. That looks a little inappropriate.

It is real difficult in high school. They should just be taken and parents should have to come and pick them up and there should be a consequence also when they are being used during the day.

I will look up the research you mention Anonymous when I get a chance. This would be interested to read.

The most important thing regardless of what is decided is consistency. The kids must know that the same thing will happen each time.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Anon 10:18...

There are a lot more schools that are going to a total cell phone ban in the school.

I have talked to some teachers through out the country and they met the students at the door and take their phone.

So this seems to be a trend that could be growing.

My question is... We grew up without cell phones at school. Why does are 6th graders have to get a cell phone? It seems to be the new craze. Leave the elementary school you must have a cell phone to go to the middle school. We had to have faith and trust. I know that with the way that the internet has grown today it does put a lot more concern in parents.

So I have to agree with the other teacher that posted the prior comment.

Dunwoody Mom said...

With regards to this cell phone issue, I am of 2 minds. First, it would not bother me if cell phones were banned. I do believe they are a distraction for the students and teachers. As a parent, however, I just think back to Columbine and the other school shootings since and wonder if more lives could have been saved if these children could have called for help sooner?

One Fed Up Insider said...

I know what you are saying. But we hear more about co workers shooting each other more than we do about school shootings.

Shootings no matter how they happen are horrible and there is no way to tell when, or if they would happen.

But if you look at the odds, the number of students, the number of school systems, the number of schools in the US... What is the likely hood that something would ever happen?

I do agree with you Dunwoody Mom, but when Columbine happened cell phones were no where as popular as they are today.

Today cell phones are seem more as a status symbol than a life saving feature.

I hope that this clears somethings up.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Oh, I absolutely agree with you on the cell phone and "status" issue. Just speaking as a Mom, though, they give me a small amount of "safety" comfort.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Speaking as a parent myself, I would agree. But, the kids are not using them the way we(the parents) are intending them to be used.

I know when my kid gets middle school age, they will not be walking around with a cell phone. I can't live with what might happen. Living in fear is the worse place to live. You have to have faith and I know that in the times we live in we have lost that. I also now that it is easier said than done.
All it would take is for a parent to pull the records of their students cell phones and I bet a lot of the problems that we are having today in the classroom would stop. Don't give these "souped up" ( I hope that is right) cell phones. They do not need iPhones or internet phones at that age. They need a phone to dial on. That's it. Do not give the unlimited text messages. Get a plan that only allows for 100 messages.

I bet we really would see a reduction in the problems that we are having today.

Just a thought.

I am so glad that we are having this great discussion.

Anonymous said...

Do not be like the school board and confuse dress code with school uniforms, or school uniforms with a uniform dress code. A uniform dress code could specify khaki slacks and a blue shirt (purchased anywhere). An actual uniform consists of skirts, shirts, slacks, etc purchased through a single supplier. (The Marine high school would have had uniforms). The thought is that uniform dress allows less of a financial burden. The problems with any uniform dress code is what do you do about religious exceptions? Headscarves and turbans come to mind. The DCSS policy is that a school may adopt uniform dress or even uniforms if 80% of the parents approve. Most public school systems with a uniform or uniform dress code risk law suits and therefore, most allow exceptions. The system-wide dress code listed is not a uniform dress code. Those are local options at each school.

Ella Smith said...

I teach at North Spring Charter High School where part of the charter itself is a dress code and we started out real good but last year was not a good year. We got a new principal which was a good thing and she realized that some of the guidelines where subjective. For instance. Shorts and dresses should be an inch below your fingertips. Well individuals have different lengths of arms. I think she wants to got to so many inches about the knee which can be more accurate and more reasonable.

We started out banning pants not at the waist but last year it did not appear to be as much of an issue. Again to be honest we were not consistant and are not consistant from year to year and from month to month which gives the students the wrong impression.

I agree I have some comfort in my son having a cell phone at school. But if he used it at school he would get serious consequences from me. I have never called Austin at school. I do admit that my husband has text him about picking him up at a certain time for practice or something like this but his cell phone is off during the day so he should hopefully be getting this message when school is out.

Cell phones is a tough issue. I think the key is that they should not be on or used during school hours and if they are then consequence should be given.

I am going out on a limb but as a teacher I will do this. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take a cell phone and then have to deliver it latter to the office. First of all these cell phones are so expensive. Second of all when this happens you have another problem on your hand as about 40%-80% of the time the student refuses to give it to you and you have another discipline problem when you are suspose to be making sure the standards are taught in the short amount of time we are given. It is a big problem. I have compromised as I do take the phones when I see them. The first time I take it you can come and get it from me at the end of the day. This prevents the refusal to give the phone to me and prevents me from stopping my lesson and dealing with the situation verses teaching. The second time I either have to take it up or send for security because the student will not give it to me.

IMO,this is a much bigger issue than many of you guys realize unless you are in the high school setting today. The cell phones are the students life-line they think so in trying to enforce no cell phones in the schools we may see an elevation of other discipline issues because of the cell phones.

Unless the schools have the parents' support just like in most other issues the school system may not be successful. We must continue to try to involve the parents and the community in dialog and get their opinion and have hearings on issues before making knee-jerk decisions.

Cerebration said...

One time a substitute bus driver skipped half of the bus route taking the kids home. My 12 year old daughter was on the bus. The kids told her she went the wrong way but she told them to shut up. She ended her route at a low-rent apartment complex 3 miles from our home and made everyone get off. Luckily, the apartment manager was working in the office and she let my daughter stay in the office and call me and wait for me to pick her up.

I got her a cell phone the next day.

Kim Gokce said...

That pretty much sums it up ... my goodness, Cere, no wonder you have trust issues with DCSS! :)

Bottom line on cell phones is that there is a proper way to own and operate one just as there is a proper way to own and "operate" clothing. This applies to students just as it does to us.

Cell phones are not going away and we have to teach our children how to manage them properly in all environments. Why should a mobile phone incident that disrupts the classroom or school be treated any differently than other discipline problems?

For younger children, it's a conduct grade hit. For older children, detention or study hall or whatever devices are used today as dis-incentives.

What am I missing in this debate about mobile phones?

Dekalbparent said...

I want to echo Anon 6/18 6:57 He/she said that, as a teacher, he/she could not police cell phone use in the classroom because the kids are skilled at using them without detection.

This is what I hear from my HS student - that there are kids texting each other in class all the time and the teacher does not catch it. How could they? They are attempting to teach a lesson to a whole class. They are scanning faces to see if the students comprehend (or if they are even paying attention). They are noting the time left and calculating how much material absolutely HAS to be covered today. And some kid is working the phone down next to their seat or in their pocket without having to look.

I challenge anybody to police that.

And while I'm on it, to expect the teachers to be responsible for catching violations of the dress code and take action is pretty ridiculous, too. What if a kid objects to being informed that their clothing is inappropriate? What is the teacher supposed to do with the rest of the class while they deal with the situation? Will there be extra people on each hall to take over for the teacher? I am not targeting any particular group, either - the "BMW babies" from the million-dollar real estate are pretty obnoxious when they are crossed.

Kim Gokce said...

@Dekalbparent: "He/she said that, as a teacher, he/she could not police cell phone use in the classroom because the kids are skilled at using them without detection."

If they are not disrupting the conduct of the class, then they are only harming themselves and this will be reflected on their own performance, no one else's.

Teachers should only enforce student discipline so they can conduct the classroom - not to make policymakers happy. If something is distracting the students or the teacher from the learning process, bust'em. Otherwise, who cares?

Having a mobile phone is a non-issue in my mind. Disrupting the classroom is the offense, not carrying a mobile phone. Mobile phones don't disrupt classrooms, students do! :)

At every live performance, audiences are asked to turn off their phones or place them in 'silent' mode. At movie theaters, the same. The kids only need to be reminded that we expect no less when they attend a class.

Hold on, I'm getting a text on my phone ... gotta go!

Anonymous said...

dekalb county is an absolute joke. no students respect anything. why do schools focus on dress code's, flip flops and purse sizes but at the same time can't adequaetly educate their students. this is another one of dekalb county's ridiculous rules. we're in high school about to be in college. give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Kim, you are SOOooo wrong about the cell phone issue. I will let you off the hook because you don't have a high schooler student facing incredible competition to get into college.

I agree with other writers that this is a major problem. I frequently volunteer at my child's high school and I can tell you that the phones are on and ringing and vibrating between classes and during classes. The students are giggling and texting each other and sending photos during class.

But more important is when I questioned my child about why she had such a low grade in French on a certain test (well below the class average) my child told me that she was the one of the few who did not have an iPhone and use it to access the internet translation sites. So I asked several teachers and they all said Yes, students were using phones in this manner but they had given up trying to police it because of lack of backup from the administration.

So this taxpayer would rather have my school staff spend their time to ensure that the academic environment is fair and not disrupted than have teachers out in the hallways policing a subjective dress code.

My child has a cell phone and is allowed to take it to school to use in case of an emergency or after school is out. I don't have a problem with this.

Anonymous said...

dekalb county is an absolute joke. no students respect anything. why do schools focus on dress code's, flip flops and purse sizes but at the same time can't adequaetly educate their students. this is another one of dekalb county's ridiculous rules. we're in high school about to be in college. give me a break.

One Fed Up Insider said...

If they are not disrupting the conduct of the class, then they are only harming themselves and this will be reflected on their own performance, no one else's.

Kim you wrote this. I hate to tell you but you are so wrong. Hate to tell you but nothing is ever the students fault. Haven't you ever read any other blog from around the country. Who always ok 98% who gets blamed first.. THE TEACHER.

DCSS is no different. You have a student fail you must give them extra tutoring, extra make up test. You can't flunk them without many, many pages of documentation, phone calls home to parents, (AND YES, YOU MUST TALK TO THE PARENT IN PERSON. VOICE MAIL DOES NOT WORK) The student automatically gets a 70.

Yes I am a teacher that does try to make a difference in every student I teach. That is why I am on here blogging from time to time.

So let me say this... It is a reflection on the teacher.. NOT the student.

Ella Smith said...

Kim, you are correct to a high degree regarding them not disturbing others other than they are probable texting someone else in the school or even in the class which is disturbing that child's learning and the child who is sending the message to start with.

It is a big problem and as a teacher I definitely stop all the offenders who do it walking down the hall, their cell phone goes off in class or vibrates and I notice it or if I am slick enough to catch one of them. The high school students today can text without looking so it is hard to catch them.

I bet our scores/grades would go up significantly throughout the whole county in the high schools/school administration/school board would truely enforce the policy of no cell phones during the school day.
All that happens now is that they get their phone taken away until a parent comes to get it and again I know when I take a phone a large majority of the time I am going to have to call security or an administrator to get the phone. The student normally uses someone elses phone to call the parents and before I can get it to the office the parents are there to pick it up. These phones are these high school students life-line/social connection and they do not want to give them up.

I can assure you it would be easier for me not to see the phones or ignor them than to address the issue. I am pretty sure teachers just do not want to deal with the situation as the child normally gets no consequence and it is a pain for the teacher to bother with and also what if someone steals that expensive phone before the teacher can take it to the office. Remember we cannot leave our classes unattended.

Anonymous said...

Cell phones are coming of age and they can be programed to go off at a certain time and come on at a certain time. Schools are getting so rough and when you don't have equal communication from the school.....power off all day..... then parents want to stay in touch with their kids...

I don't know what the answer is...uniforms or not.....cell phones or not....cheating in class or not....

A uniform would not be an issue if it was not out of control, cell phones would not be an issue if they weren't going off in class or being used to cheat....students aren't the only ones...teachers keep their phones out on their desk and in their ears....they rush between classes to make a quick call and so do the kids....we're just in a hurry as a society and its catching up with us. Teachers log on to fb while administering a test. People create degrees and diploma's from their computers. Until I read this blog....I never thought about the cell phone to txt answers to a test. I'll be having a conversation with mines because this is not the way and I want them to understand what's happening and not to get catch up in cheating and hope that they did not know about this form of cheating and hoping that they or the friends they hang with have not utilized technology in this way....(thanks for the knowledge) So much great discussion but I hate the current state of our county school....it feels like prison..... red, green and yellow cups on the table in the lunch room...., no recess those you do receive it well you're the light prison and others may get it for 15 minutes for good behavior and if you're in a class with one bad apple you can forget it.....then the schools that are on light prison don't want the heavy criminals to penetrate their walls for fear of spreading the cancer of low AYP scores and mandatory dress codes.......What's the point......Teacher's can't teach for following all the warden's rules, parents can't voice a concern or risk getting put on the black list at the county, students can't learn because other students who are doing right are grouped with everyone else and the South side schools have more lock downs than the local prisons( the ones that actually say detention on the outside of the bldg)....its just a mess....and yet I know we have people on every level trying to do what's right and good and it seems to go unnoticed because overall we're in a mess........its like a nightmare that I have to see until the end because I live and have children in this county.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention......Oh yes and know that parents are guilty of cell phone overload as well, the school office has to put up a sign that says not talking on the cell phone while in the office....come on and we're talking about the children......... Parents cheat too.....

When the adults get it together...the kids will follow

Anonymous said...

Some teachers need a dress code as well. I actually saw a teacher with a g-string showing and her pants were so tight you'd thought she melted herself down and poured herself into the pants....the guys never had a chance...this was middle school the boys were drooling.

Kim Gokce said...

@anon 5:22pm "I will let you off the hook because you don't have a high schooler student facing incredible competition to get into college."

What hook?

Cheating is the problem, not mobile phones. Discipline enforcement is the problem, not mobile phones.

Teachers do not have the support of most admins and there are not enough resources available to support the level of discipline needed - nor are the consequences apparently intimidating enough to parents and children.

These problems pre-date mobile electronics and banning mobile phones is not practical so there's no point discussing it.

We should be discussing how to restore the authority of teachers in the classroom. A start might be giving deference to teachers rather than students.

Another shot in the arm might be expecting compliance by our students and consistently applying consequences when they err. Lastly, the Administration should defer to teachers in matters of dispute of facts rather than rolling over in front of parents.

I know this is not the norm. It wasn't the norm when I was in public school in South Fulton in the late 70s. It wasn't the norm during the 90s for the last 10 years of my mother's 27 years of teaching in Fulton County. But that doesn't change the fact that it must be the norm for our classrooms to be successful learning environments.

What does proper discipline look like? How about as an example, Woodward Academy's Student and Parent Handbook recommending 5 hours of detention for using mobile phones for calls or texting during the school day. This detention can include Saturday AM hours.

"Nothing the student has to do takes priority over serving these hours." Detention may include study hall, manual or physical labor. Sound fun?

One time a student has to clean a bathroom as part of disciplinary action, the issue is resolved.

You know how they "get away" with this at schools like Woodward? Because the idea of loosing the privilege to go to school is abhorrent to the parents and the administration holds this power and the reins of discipline and supports their teachers.

That sounds reasonable to me. Any takers? This is not complicated. We are cowards.

Getting kicked out of Woodward is easy; getting kicked out of a public HS not so much. There's no sense of value or consequences. No I didn't go to Woodward - we "hated" them - Go Lakeshore Lancers!

Kim Gokce said...

@onefedupinsider: "Kim you wrote this. I hate to tell you but you are so wrong. Hate to tell you but nothing is ever the students fault. Haven't you ever read any other blog from around the country. Who always ok 98% who gets blamed first.. THE TEACHER."

You are 100% correct. The word missing from my post was "should" not reflect on anyone else. I know this imbalance well from my mother's 27 years. It is exactly what I am saying is the root of the problem. Teachers have lost authority and respect from students and admins in far too many cases.

fedupindcss said...

If memory serves correctly, the rule that allowed kids to have cell phones in the school building at all was promoted by then-Board member Brad Bryant. He wanted his high school age daughter to be able to call him from school in case of an emergency. Ironically, this coincided with the change in the school phone systems that put telephones in every classroom (instead of a pay phone in the hall).

My take is that whenever DCSS has real issues to take up, they push a dress code. Kind of like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while it is going down. My child laughed when told of the new dress code, commenting that the teachers always enforce the dress code for the first two weeks, then they stop out of sheer exhaustion.

pscexb said...

In fairness, this has become an issue 'again' because parents have advocated this to various board members. Some parents are looking for the school system to 'police' acceptable dress policies. That is why Dr. Brown implemented the uniform code during his first year, he thought he had a mandate from the board along with enough citizens in the community. When he got 'heat' for this, especially from HS students/parents, most board members at that time left him holding the bag.

I agree wholeheartedly with fedupindcss, it will be an issue for the first few weeks of school then school officials will probably back off because it will take too much time away from instruction. We saw that last year with the 'tuck and pull' policy.

A 'possible' solution? Create an 'In School Suspension (ISS)' class for every school? This could hopefully reduce the amount of time away from instruction for many teachers however you would still need to notify parents why this is happening. This could 'backfire' and make ISS the place to be for 'cool' students.

Anonymous said...

A defining characteristic of the current DCSS leadership is the refusal to acknowledge just how bad the discipline and thus instructional situation is in the south-Dekalb schools. Last year's spate of AYP transfers up north brought the social problems afflicting the students embarrassingly to light (it's hard to ignore just how out of place the kids are in mainstream society when they are on Briarcliff, and not "ghettoized" elsewhere). A competent leadership would tackle discipline head on by empowering teachers to take away cell phones and mp3 devices for the duration of the school year and, indeed, mandating that the administrators in the buildings start expelling trouble makers en masse for 10 days, instead of relying on the toothless ISS penalty. It is strange how a system run by people who are very familiar with the realities of south Dekalb does so little to equip its stsudents to function well in our society. One could be forgiven for the impression that DCSS is but a giant job-creation machine.

fedupindcss said...

Just a story that illustrates how bizarre policing clothing can become:

I was in the front office of a high school when a girl was sent up with a t-shirt that had a skull on it, in a format that looked vaguely like a Hell's Angel-type thing (in fact, it was an Ed Hardy shirt, probably cost a fortune). She was honestly confused as to the problem with the shirt, and the only person up there at the time was a male AP. She said her teacher had sent her up to have someone look at her shirt and see if it was appropriate. The poor AP said he couldn't look at it himself, that he would have to get a female administrator to do so. After he took her off to find a female AP, he came back and explained that he couldn't pass judgment on the shirt because it would appear that he is checking out her breasts. I laughed out loud, then wondered what happens at a school with no female administators.

So if you are a girl at a school with only male principals and APs, you can wear whatever you want, because no one will claim to have ever looked at it.

pscexb said...

Focusing on the core of Anon@10:57 message while ignoring the 'slights', discipline is the 'elephant in the room' that ALL school systems are facing. This is not unique to DCSS.

IMO, most parents are doing the right thing in sending their children prepared to learn and to follow the instructions of the teachers. Unfortunately there are a small group of students that do not care (along with their parents) and end up taking a majority of the school systems time and efforts. As I said earlier, I see the 'dress code' as another attempt to get 'disengaged' students 'in line' however I feel it will ultimately take time away from students who are there to learn. Only time will tell.

pscexb said...

fedupindcss asks, what happens at a school with no female administrators. To make that question more general, what if it is a school where all the administrators are of the same gender? I 'want' to believe there is a conscious effort to ensure that is not the case at HSs, especially if you add counselors to that list. Perhaps they would go to a 'senior' teacher at the school?

Dekalbparent said...

Looks to me (at least at the schools Ii have been in) that ISS is toothless - as psc said, "the place for cool kids". It seems as if it is regarded as a little vacation. OSS is often just as toothless - it's a vacation at home...

What would give real teeth to discipline? It needs to be something unpalatable to almost everyone (kids and parents) - like cleaning bathrooms - and fairly easily/quickly invoked, so it doesn't tie up teachers and [good] admins. Otherwise the enforcement would be too burdensome.

I'm honestly stumped.

fedupindcss said...

Looking at the dress code in its entirety, the part relating to boys seems to be gang and weapons related (see: baggy pants). The rest seems aimed at girls and keeping them from looking sexually provocative (which is often in the eye of the beholder).

I generally am not a big fan of dress codes, but I would be far more likely to support the superintendent in his efforts if he did something about the teachers in his employ who allow female students who participate in dance teams/pep squads/cheerleading squads that they sponsor to dress and act like exotic dancers. Indeed, these groups seem most prevalent out of high schools which purport to have strict dress code sanctions (or at least have lots of posters to that affect in the halls).

You can't tell the kids to follow a dress code in class and then let them wear two inches of clothing while gyrating at a school sanctioned event. Mixed messages, folks.

TeeJay said...

I agree that flip-flops seem harmless and it will be very difficult to enforce this one without having 50% of students in ISS on a daily basis!

Cerebration said...

I am so happy to hear that they are banning flip-flops! It has been devastating to watch all of that knowledge flow into their brains only to seep out between their toes every day!

Kim C. said...

i was up here last minute checking this new dress code thing they are tooting. i was afraid for a second that i was going to be hunting down some early morning uniforms for my 3rd grader. in my opinion, having had my son in private academy for the last 5 years, i would prefer uniforms. they are so easy to have ready and you never have to worry about what your child is going to wear or what they have on. though i don't believe they should ever be enforced on a public school setting, they are a fantastic idea

Anonymous said...

Cerebration said...

"Also - an aside - can anyone clarify what kind of clothing or jewelry would 'endanger the health or safety of other students'?"

I know this is VERY late, but what comes to mind is something that's trendy with goths or punks: lots of heavy chains draped around the pants or skirts.

I have (much) younger friends that are into the sub-cultures and wear this sort of clothing, but I know some schools in other areas won't allow it. Even some of the anime and scifi conventions ban it!

Also, part of the reason for a clause like that is so if an unforeseen problem does arise, there's already an established policy to handle it.

For the record, I'm the wife of a teacher, not a parent of a MS or HS student. (I'm not quite old enough for a kid that age!)

Anonymous said...

Im a student that attends a dekalb county school. i believe most of these dress codes have nothing to do with the learning process. all these rules the county are making up are silly because this is ridicoulous maybe we should just start wearing uniforms all toghether. because we surely can not wear anything else.

LaTasha Smith said...

I think that Dekalb county has chosen the best option to pass the new dress code. These children focus more on how they look and what kind of sneakers they are wearing. While some say that the dress code does not have anything to do with their learning, I disagree because some kids who are less fortunate then others are bullied and teased because of what they are wearing which causes them to drop out of school and those who are fortunate, puts so much energy into dressing up for school instead of learning. Clothes don't have anything to do with their learning, we as parents have everything to do with their learning because it starts at home and some of you just send them to school to get out of your hair so you can be free, half do not even have parents to guide them but do you think about what's going on or what is happening to them. Bullying is at a all time high and I feel that if they all are dressed in uniforms, it teaches them that no one child is better than the other, school is fro learning, not to put on a fashion show, it shows them how to properly dress in public verses wearing things that are inappropriate for girls and it will teach our boys that their pants do not belong on the ground, they belong on their bottoms with a belt, and excuse me for being so blunt, but if you can not wear flip flops on a job site because it is against safety procedures, why should it be okay for school? Some of you need to think about that before speaking. Dress codes are put in place for a reason,and while you all are making a fuss about it, fuss about the way these girls are going to school with thigh high shorts on, and fuss about how everyone knows what color these boys underpants are. Stop fighting the school system and blame yourselves for this wonderful change because you shop for your children not the school system so if you think that it is unfair for your kids to wear uniforms, then look in the mirror and blame you because you all provide for your children, and the best way to enforce it is send the kids who do not abide by the dress code home every time they show up without them on, I am sure that their parents will not like that because that makes them have to leave work or whatever they are doing to pick them up, then you become a problem for your job, soon they will fire you, and you are going to wish that you made your children wear uniforms to school. Stop allowing your children to raise you, you are the parents and some things are just not okay. How your children dresses for school are an reflection of you.