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Trustees talk dress code changes at Sharyland

This article originally ran in the June 18, 2021 issue of the Progress Times.

Sharyland’s student dress code was once again up for discussion at Monday’s board of trustees workshop, with tucked-in shirts becoming a point of contention. After previously meeting with the principals and reaching a consensus, administration proposed several revisions to the dress code for the 2021-2022 school year to keep up with changing fads and styles. 

Before presenting the changes, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Belinda Gorena prefaced by saying administration and staff are first and foremost excited to have kids back on campus. Toward the end of the 2020-2021 school year, schools began opening up with greater capacity with more events for students to attend, and in turn, brought up conversations about dress code requirements. 

“It’s been important for our kids to first just get on [campus] and feel comfortable again, and then begin to address those dress code issues,” Gorena said.

Some of the proposed changes included modifying unclear or subjective language, while other rules were struck out entirely. One of the rules proposed to be removed entirely is the requirement that shirts be tucked in for all students. But this is not the first time administration has attempted to make this amendment, according to 13-year trustee Ricky Longoria. 

“All the years I’ve served, this will be the third time that one has attempted to be struck out,” Longoria said. “And the reason given in the past was that it was too difficult to enforce. So why is it being struck out now?” 

Gorena stated that oversized shirts are no longer in style and the principals didn’t see a reason to have that rule in the handbook anymore. However, if the rule remains in the dress code, it will have to be enforced. According to SISD Public Relations Director Nancy Barboza, the consequence for breaking the dress code varies by campus. But board member Pepe Garcia stressed the importance of making sure the rules are enforced the same throughout the entire district.

“We’re not doing anything we haven’t asked them to do before, so it’s not like it’s anything new,” Longoria said in favor of keeping the tucked-in shirts rule. “I’ve always said the things that we do different are the things that make us great. And anytime I see us move a little bit from our core value or structure or practice, I get real hesitant.”

Trustee Keith Padilla feels less strongly about the regulation remaining in place. 

“What I’m saying is, evolve a little bit,” Padilla said. “Just because we’ve been doing it the way we’ve been doing it, I understand that. But, you know, it doesn’t hurt sometimes to make a change.” 

Gorena made note of the board’s suggestions to discuss at the next meeting with the principals. The dress code changes won’t be finalized and voted on until a later school board meeting.

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