When back-to-school shopping, parents should check on school dress code

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When it comes to back-to-school shopping, pencils, paper and notebooks are typically top of mind.

But when it comes to shopping for school clothes, are you buying outfits that are dress-code appropriate or are they likely to get your child in trouble?

Some think parents need to do a better job making sure children are dressed according to classroom standards.

“I see a lot of people dressing their kids in stuff that’s not appropriate for school,” Stacey Wilson said.

Wilson doesn’t have children of her own, but she is around them enough to know what they’re wearing.

“I was a babysitter for a while and I would see the young kids on the school bus and I just couldn’t get over it, so I think a dress code is needed,” she said.

Schools certainly have dress codes, but the policies vary.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has a basic district-wide dress code policy, but schools have the ability to adopt specific requirements.

Guilford County Schools also relies on individual schools to put a policy in place. The district requires that each school publish its dress code prior to the school year.

Some schools in both school systems operate under a Standard Mode of Dress (SMOD) policy.

Atkins High School in Winston-Salem is one of those schools.

The school’s website gives parents and students visual examples of clothing that is acceptable and clothing that is not acceptable according to its SMOD policy.

Principal Joe Childers believes the dress code helps students stay focused, but he also says the policy has been beneficial for ensuring students are not self-conscious from a socioeconomic perspective.

“There’s only so much you can do with khaki pants and a polo shirt, so you can’t readily tell glancing at a student if it’s a student from poverty or a student that’s upper middle class,” Childers said.

Mom Heather Evans has a 13-year-old daughter to shop for this year and says she keeps the dress code in mind when buying clothes.

“I think they should have dress codes. I don’t feel like they should wear short shorts, but leggings, I think [are] OK,” she said.

Many schools under a SMOD policy have a closet that will assist students who are not dressed appropriately.

This way they can continue the school day without going home.

Parents should check with their child’s individual school for its dress code policy.