DeSoto ISD Decides Not To Require Uniforms In 2022-2023 School Year
DESOTO – The DeSoto Independent School District’s new Superintendent had no comment this week when it came time to answer a question for readers who might be curious about an upcoming board meeting agenda item.
The question related to the DeSoto ISD decision to recommend and not require a dress code for the new school year. From DeSoto ISD website, “DeSoto ISD will recommend standardized dress for the 2022-2023 academic year and revised the district’s dress code based on parent, student, and staff feedback.”
Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones who works in the DeSoto ISD Communications Department said “It is important to note that we have a general dress code that informs guidelines for student dress and recommended dress days that are not required.”
She added “Past iterations of the district’s dress code have been included in the Student Handbook–a policy that guides student expectations including dress and other areas of the student experience like attendance. Students have always been required to adhere to standards of dress. However, in 2018, the district went away from its uniform-based dress code to allow students to wear what they chose within certain guidelines as outlined by the dress code introduced at that time.”
The district spokesperson noted that after there were several incidents that occurred last Spring, prompting the previous district administration to discuss the possibility of a uniform-based dress code. With the hope uniforms would reduce distractions and disputes among students. In addition, a dress code was deemed a good safety precaution that would allow easy identification of trespassers not in uniform.
The next steps were a series of public meetings and a survey on the matter. It was at this point the data showed the community was split on the matter. Therefore, the district listened to the feedback received. So, rather than implement a uniform-based dress code, they decided on a stronger and more consistent enforcement of the current dress code while also offering recommended dress days.
Parents Express Opinions
When DeSoto ISD shared the 2022-2023 student dress code on Facebook, parents and community members expressed their opinions. One wrote, “This decision makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO sense. Why make “recommendations” if it is not required dress? That was a waste of typed wpm bc NOONE is going to voluntarily forego their wardrobe freedom (at the levels to which this standard is supposed to help) to wear these clothes if they don’t have to. Not one single parent is going to buy clothes to add to clothes their child has if it is unnecessary. AND especially if the child could just change their clothes at school because the dress code is recommended and not required. Is the district fearful that a dress code will make the students withdraw so much to where there won’t be a single kid in the district or something? Or, only the athletic ones? If you set a standard, people will fall in line. We preach to children that you teach people how to treat you and you set your standards. But we don’t even have the “sta-rds”, just riding in the middle with silly non-policies.”
Another wrote, “I’m for uniforms, they have all day after school and the weekends to “express themselves”. You go to work TO WORK, you go to school TO LEARN. People need to get their priorities in line. Uniforms alone aren’t going to fix the problems but a change in mindset and culture (i.e. behavior and standards) are needed in DeSoto and that is going to take a multi-pronged approach to education as a whole.”
Honoring Community Feedback
Dress code or not, apparently ISD students who decide not to follow the recommended dress code will be met with no infraction in certain cases, but Blackmon-Jones added “Students who do not follow the guidelines of the general dress code will be issued a disciplinary infraction based on the Student Code of Conduct.”
Overall, the final word is that DeSoto ISD honored the feedback of the community in its decision to not implement a uniform-based dress code. Roughly 150 people attended the virtual and in-person focus group meetings in total and roughly 1100 respondents completed the survey on the matter.
“Data from those touchpoints revealed an almost even split on the question of a uniform-based dress code,” Blackmon-Jones explained. “In a school community comprised of roughly 7,400 students, higher engagement and participation may have elicited a different outcome; however, given the data collected in conjunction with the transition in leadership, it was deemed appropriate to clarify or revise certain areas within the existing dress code and commit to more consistently enforcing those student dress standards while also offering the recommended dress days for those families who felt it beneficial to adopt a dressing routine more aligned to that of a uniform.”
DeSoto ISD recommended standardized attire schedule:
Monday – Gold Day (Gold polo style shirt with khakis or jeans)
Tuesday – Green Day (Green polo-style shirt with khakis or jeans)
Wednesday – Professional Dress Day (Non-branded or District branded blazers, ties, cardigans and sweater vest)
Thursday – College and Career Day (ex. College or University spirit shirt with khakis or jeans)
Friday – DeSoto Spirit Day (District or campus spirit shirt with jeans or khakis)
Note: The above-listed recommended student dress days are not required dress for students per DeSoto ISD.
All students can wear any color top/shirt; OR a college, military, or spirit shirt. The shirt must fit the individual properly. Shirts can be long or short-sleeved.
Shirts are not limited to solid colors. Shirts must cover the midsection.
- Sleeveless, tanks/camis, tube or halter tops
- Crop tops or low-cut shirts
- Lewd or inappropriate text/graphics
- Tops or shirts with holes in them
Students can wear bottoms that fit the individual properly. Material and colors do not matter. However, clothing cannot be too big/sagging, or too tight. Shorts or skirts must be no shorter than 2 inches from the top of the knee.
- Pajama Pants
- Tights (under a skirt only)
- Sagging: Pants that are unnaturally fitting at the waist and crotch area.
- Pants with holes
Shoes required at all times
- House slippers
- Stiletto heels
- Athletic slides
- Shoes with wheels
- Steel-toe boots/shoes
- Crocs in non-sport mode (no strap on the back of the heel)
Outerwear: Sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets coats
- Lewd or inappropriate text/graphics
- No hoods are allowed on the head while inside the building
- Hats, baseball caps, headwraps
No lewd or inappropriate text or graphics. Religious head wraps are permitted. Caps and head wraps worn for medical reasons are permitted.
- Baseball Caps
- Sock hats (only permitted outdoors)
- Decorative/casual head wraps
So, what is the purpose of a dress code at the ISD anyway?
“A dress code creates a baseline understanding of appropriate dress based on the culture and environment desired to be created,” Blackmon-Jones concluded. “In an educational setting, we want to keep the focus on a safe, learning environment where students can experience community and belongingness.”
It was also pointed out that dress codes create a standard for appropriate dress that all students will have to adhere to in some shape or form as they matriculate through school and into college and careers. This therefore trains students to understand and exist within a setting of professionalism and decorum as a foundation of this effort.
The dress code item will be discussed and voted on by the DeSoto Board of Trustees during the July 25 board meeting when the board will hear the administration’s recommendations regarding whether to require or recommend a dress code within the DeSoto ISD school system.