How District 203 is tweaking its dress code

  • Caps, hats and other head coverings may be worn as long as they don't disrupt the learning environment or compromise the ability to identify a student, Naperville Unit District 203 officials say.

    Caps, hats and other head coverings may be worn as long as they don't disrupt the learning environment or compromise the ability to identify a student, Naperville Unit District 203 officials say. Getty Images

  • Naperville Unit District 203 officials are making changes to the dress code to make the rules more uniform across all the schools and address the diverse student population.

      Naperville Unit District 203 officials are making changes to the dress code to make the rules more uniform across all the schools and address the diverse student population. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/7/2022 5:25 PM

Naperville Unit District 203 officials are making changes to the district's dress code, effective for the 2022-23 school year.

At Monday's school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Chala Holland detailed the changes, which will make the rules more uniform across all district schools and better address the diverse student population.

 

The shift comes after a committee met several times and received input from more than 300 administrators, staff members, students and parents.

"The committee engaged in a process of considering the impact of dress codes across various groups, and specifically through an equity lens," Holland said. "We discussed concerns and complaints with the dress code, along with the ways that students, staff and families learn the dress code."

One key change is that caps, hats and other head coverings may be worn as long as they don't disrupt the learning environment or compromise the ability to identify a student. Also, language adapted from the American Library Association has been added to the dress code to eliminate hate speech based on race, religion, skin color, sexual and gender identity, ethnicity, disability, immigration status or national origin.

"It raised a lot of questions regarding what we actually stand for and what we believe," Holland said. "We also noticed that some student groups seemed to be unfairly targeted, more so than others."

The new dress code will be included in school handbooks that will be printed this summer. Holland, who helped write the dress code with fellow Assistant Superintendent Chuck Freundt, said the committee will meet again at the end of the first and second semesters next school year.

Holland said the dress code solves the issue of uniformity throughout the district. Previously, each school wrote its own dress code, which created confusion when students transitioned from junior high school to high school and had to adapt to new rules.

"We tried to work through having broad enough language to cover the areas of focus while also trying to think about the accessibility of the language," Holland said.

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