No more jeans or hoodies: Colleton Co. parents react to proposed dress code

Under the current dress code, students can wear jeans as long as they don’t have holes or rips in them.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 7:31 PM EDT
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Students in Colleton County Schools might not be allowed to wear jeans or hoodies anymore if the school board passes a new dress code policy, and some parents say they are not happy about it.

Under the current dress code, students can wear jeans as long as they don’t have holes or rips in them. The amendments take out this phrasing altogether. Also instead of hoodies, they say that only crewneck sweatshirts are allowed.

“Our kids’ education should come first,” parent Tangie Ohmer said. “Period.”

Some of the main points made by parents are that this could cause them to buy twice the amount of clothes their kids would want to wear. Plus, they say the district already has so many other issues at stake and what they wear should not be a top priority.

“I don’t understand what they wear has anything to do with how they learn,” parent Tangie Ohmer said.

The revised dress code policy passed its first reading at last week’s school board meeting. Since then, one parent sent out a survey yesterday that already has nearly 400 responses from both parents and students combined.

“I understand there should be structure in what they wear to school,” Ohmer said. “I understand that graphic nature, stuff like that, should not be worn to school... But as far as the khakis, particularly the color shirt you wear, I don’t feel that any of that matters.”

For parent Taiesha Whitley, she says taking away the jeans brings her back to when she was in school.

“A lot of the times I was struggling in pants that are slacks that just did not fit my body very pleasant, and kids noticed, and they picked on me,” Whitley said.

Whitley wanted to hear the community’s thoughts and sent out a survey Monday that already has nearly 400 responses from both parents and students combined. She says the majority of the responses are not in favor of the change. Whitley says jeans and hoodies are a comfort zone for kids, and that should not be taken away.

She shares what one student replied.

“‘Making an expensive dress code in an already poor community.’” Whitley said. “And I was shocked that a child has realized that this is the state that we’re in and then these are the struggles the parents are facing.”

She says this goes back to teaching kids how to make their own responsible choices like adults and if the strict restriction starts here, they won’t know how to think for themselves.

“We’re just going to take everything out says, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re following the rules,’” Whitley said. “‘If someone else next to you isn’t following the rules, then everybody is going to suffer.’ In turn, it’s going to make the kids say ‘Well, if I’m just going to get in trouble anyways, then why should I even follow the rules?’”

Ohmer says the district should be more worried about the poor behavior, lack of teachers and overall education of the students first.

“You may get a call that your child is not to dress code, but you may walk in the school and see ten other kids that aren’t still walking around like there’s absolutely nothing going on,” Ohmer said. “...But if you’re going to do it to one, you need to do it to all.”

Whitley plans to share the survey results with the school board and challenges them on what they should do.

“Are you going to vote with the majority with everyone’s saying or are you still going to be online with your own agenda?” Whitley said.

Click here to view the parent survey and here to view the student survey.

No board members or school district officials have provided statements on why they wanted to make the change.