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Riverbend High School's more stringent dress code prompts response
By PAMELA GOULD
Camisoles are in, cleavage is out at Riverbend High School.
Likewise, belts are in and sagging pants are out.
Riverbend Principal Troy Wright sent a message to parents last week spelling out the Spotsylvania County high school's dress code.
It includes such details as:
Skirts/shorts/dresses cannot be shorter than 3 inches above the knee.
Pants/shorts must sit at the hips. They must not sag so that undergarments can be seen.
No cleavage. The chest area needs to be covered from armpit to armpit. If a scoop neck or v-neck shirt is below the armpit then a camisole or undershirt must be worn.
Wright said he issued the information along with the new bell schedule Thursday so parents would have it well ahead of the first day of school.
Spotsylvania students return to classes on Aug. 21, and Wright said he plans to begin the new year with stricter and more consistent enforcement of the dress code.
Spotsylvania has a dress code for students in its student Code of Conduct, which is available online and is distributed every school year.
The Code of Conduct states that school administrators have authority for enforcing it and parents are required to "work in partnership with school administrators to maintain a safe and orderly school environment," which includes attire.
Principals have permission to add to the general dress code to confront concerns specific to their buildings, schools spokeswoman Rene Daniels said.
Wright said his dress code is a bit stricter than last year's, but its precision is aimed at helping staff carry it out consistently. He plans to have a group of employees at entrances each morning to enforce the code.
The reasoning comes from the opening line of the message he distributed: "Student dress should reflect the notion that school is a place of business where student learning is the highest priority."
People in the region seem to agree.
In an online poll on freder icksburg.com, respondents overwhelmingly supported the policy. At one point, 93 percent voted in favor, choosing the option: "Awesome. About time."
Peter Pfotenhauer, president of the Spotsylvania Education Association, said the Riverbend dress code is consistent with what's being done across the county. He welcomed increased enforcement efforts.