CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School board is considering updating its dress code with changes that include banning clothes that “distract.”
The new proposal stated “shorts must be loose fitting and near or approaching the knees," and students would be prohibited from wearing clothing that “disrupts or distracts in any way the learning process.”
CCSD board member Rev. Chris Collins has been spearheading the effort that still needs to be approved by the board before becoming official.
“We’re not looking at being punitive, but we want to be accommodating to help kids know that we’re not trying to do anything but keep you covered up safely until you get back home," Collins said. “We have to be human and realize that if a student comes to school like they’re on the beach or something, the teachers are going to notice that. The students are going to notice that. They got to be dressed appropriately.”
The proposal already has opposition. CCSD board member Priscilla Jeffery said she’ll be voting against it.
“It’s girl shaming, and people are really uncomfortable with that. It’s 2020," Jeffery said. “It really lets boys off the hook, because apparently girls are distracting boys, but boys aren’t distracting girls, according to how this was written.”
Collins disagreed and said the idea came from principals and teachers.
“It’s gender neutral. For example, we spoke about the leggings. Some boys wear leggings, but they also wear boxing shorts or wrestling shorts, and they have the same effect on the body and the way they fit. They’re contoured to the body," Collins said. “What some people are doing which is wrong is they’re taking the policy and they’re trying to make it sexual, that it’s geared towards shaming a girl or shaming a boy or it’s insulting or it’s degrading, and that’s just far from the truth.”
The updates also include prohibiting “any visible body piercings or tattoos that may cause a distraction or that display inappropriate language or images.” Sleepwear, backless shoes, and short shorts also make the list of unacceptable attire.
“My daughter is probably a size 12 or 14, she can wear 12 or 14 clothes," community activist Elvin Speights said. "I’m not going to put her in 18 clothes, because I think boys won’t be able to handle her shape. I think that’s something we have to teach our boys in school. Women are here, and women deserve to wear clothes that are comfortable for their body.”
The proposal could be going back before the school board by the end of the month, but its future is unclear.
“It’s just someone’s opinion of what’s distracting. Do you think a nose ring is distracting? Maybe it is to some people. I’ve taught enough teenagers that I’m used to all that stuff," Jeffery said.