All schools throughout the country have dress codes. They are an attempt to make sure that students are properly clothed and covered, without limiting their right to self-expression, which falls under the coverage of the Bill of Rights' Freedom of Speech. While some schools have “optional” uniform dress codes in place, many schools require uniforms from every student. Indianapolis Public Schools are taking it one step further; they are requiring all students, in Kindergarten through 12th grade to not only adhere to the same dress code, but to ALL wear uniforms, with very few exceptions.
Some people believe that even requiring Indianapolis Schools students to wear uniforms infringes on their rights. Some people simply do not adhere to the prevailing beliefs of the benefits of Indianapolis Schools students wearing of uniforms over the wearing of simple street clothes. Dress codes that have been previously in place in Indianapolis Schools have allowed uniforms to be optional, with guidelines about what kinds of clothes are acceptable, as well as which clothing and styles are unacceptable. In the past, for example, Indianapolis Schools do not allow heelies, low waistbands, or tank tops. Styles are limited to school board uniform standards and policies, which cover not only what colors students can wear, but what types of undershirts can be worn, what styles of shoes, belts, and even sweaters.
Proponents of enforcing school-uniform policies for students attending Indianapolis Schools believe that what a students wears influences how they conduct themselves and that that conduct directly impacts student learning. Many people believe that requiring all students to basically wear the same thing (especially among Indianapolis Schools kids in middle and high schools) will eliminate a lot of peer pressure to wear the latest fashions and styles, along with the usual ridicule and ostracizing that can occur when students don't keep up with the latest trends. Indianapolis Schools kids who aren't comparing their jeans and tops are hopefully more likely to concentrate on their studies instead.
Indianapolis Schools maintain that the ultimate responsibility for a student's dress, grooming, and appearance rests in the first instance with the student and secondly with his/her parents or guardians. Through its dress and grooming standards, the school district intends to promote community standards of decency, cleanliness, etiquette, decorum and good citizenship as part of its educational mission.
Indianapolis Schools require all uniforms to be good condition, with no alterations whatsoever. Students who wish to express themselves through their attire are permitted to wear buttons or armbands, so long as they are not vulgar, offensive, or supportive of drugs or violence. Girls attending Indianapolis Schools may carry handbags, purses, pocketbooks, fanny packs and similar items, but they must be no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches (size of a regular sheet of notebook paper), 3 to 4 inches thick, and must not be large enough to contain a regular size textbook.
It is clear that Indianapolis Schools are serious about enforcing their new dress code. In fact, when students returned to school after the Labor Day holiday, they were all required to be in uniform.
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