September 18, 2018 Meeting

September 18, 2018

District Dress Code Advisory Committee Meeting



  • 6:30 - Introduce committee members and invite community attendees to participate in conversations and activities 
  • 6:45 - Explore the purpose and scope of the work the committee
  • 7:00 - “Fair or Biased” activity and discussion
  • 7:45 - Exploration of NOW Oregon Chapter Dress Code Guidance
  • 8:15 - Next Steps 
  • Elect a Chair 
  • Resources for and needs of the Committee 
  • 8:30 - Adjourn



1. Introduction of Committee Members

2. Exploring the Purpose and Scope of this Work
The Olympia School Board is interested in addressing concerns of students, families, and staff in a productive and transparent way. The concern of dress codes arose most recently during the Strategic Planning Summit in May, but has been a concern expressed by various individuals for some time.

This committee is tasked with exploring language and policy around dress codes and providing recommendations to the board that highlight gender, race, and sexual orientation neutral language and standards of dress.

The committee will present recommendations to the Board at the last board meeting in November. Additional committee meetings will be scheduled between now and the end of September.

3. Fair or Biased Activity

Committee members and meeting attendees participated in an activity exploring dress code language and its potential for biased or fair application. (View Dress Code - Biased or Fair activity)

Biased policies . . .

  • Are unclear or open to multiple interpretations.
  • Are subjective.
  • Make the wearer responsible for the actions or reactions of others.
  • Target clothing people wear based on their identity.
  • Are enforced differently based on the wearer’s identity, gender, race, or ethnicity.


4. Exploration of NOW Recommendations
The committee read and discussed the recommendations for neutral dress code policies developed through the Oregon chapter of the National Organization of Women.

Discussion highlighted the following takeaways:

  • Like it all.
  • Appropriate responses to dress code enforcement (student not removed from class, wear other’s clothes, etc.).
  • No body shaming.
  • Remove the concept of professionalism – outdated.
  • Faces need to be visible.
  • Hats might be an issue???
  • Equitable enforcement. Should not be used to harass or shame.
  • Consider income equity issues. Restrictions on fit can be a financial burden when students are growing quickly.
  • Is it the school’s job to “prepare” students for the workforce (ie. professional dress)?
  • Consider cultural implications of certain restrictions (i.e. hats).
  • Review citations regularly to ensure one group is not being targeted.
  • Consider the impact of relationships between students and staff.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t give the dress code so much power.
  • Clarity about the types of violations (should be minor).
  • Weigh the value of starting from scratch vs. retooling particular parts/enforcement/training.
  • Emphasis on teaching about consent and harassment. How does this connect to instruction in health class.
  • Communicate the policy clearly to students, families, and staff.
  • Address hair style?
  • Make sure the citizen advisory committee represents diverse experiences, cultures, and identities.
  • Make sure to train teachers and admin rather than taking up instructional time.
  • Talk about how best to deal with staff who apply dress code inappropriately.


5. Next Steps

  • Election of a chair to facilitate or co-organize future meetings. The chair will also be asked to prepare the presentation for the Board meeting or organize for the presentation.

i. Leadership team – Audrie, Aren, Avery, Haelynn (A3)

  • Leslie will send a Doodle Poll to establish the best times for the committee to hold two additional meetings. Only one meeting will be held if decisions around recommendations can be finalized in that time.
  • Leslie will send the committee links to resources regarding dress codes including those used tonight. Leslie will set up a google folder for shared resources.
  • Additional needs of the committee include:

i. Citation list (Skyward)
ii. Swis data? Or snapshot from short period (tallies)?
iii. Short survey of students built by leadership team to balance official data and offer more diverse perspectives than just the committee.