Students protest against the Warren County School District dress code on April 16, 2023. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

WCSD Responds to Dress Code Concerns

April 20, 2023

RUSSELL, Pa. – Warren County School District Superintendent Amy Stewart sent a letter to Beaty Warren Middle School parents responding to recent criticism about the way the dress code was enforced at the school last week.

The response comes after dozens of students were sent home from the school for dress code violations, and after a student-led protest in front of the Warren County Courthouse on Sunday.

“The pace of the administration of enforcement of the dress code was fast, and it is understood that this took some students and parents by surprise,” Stewart said in the letter. “That was not the intent. It is a busy time of the year for everyone, and it was an attempt to get things on track quickly. It is recognized that more time and warnings could have been utilized.”

Stewart said she has already received emails from parents and students expressing their concerns and invited others who have questions or concerns to email her directly at [email protected]

“If you have a specific concern, please reach out to me,” Stewart said during an interview with Your Daily Local on Wednesday. “We are going to conduct a review of the dress code in the coming months. And if anybody is motivated to participate, please email me.”

One of the primary concerns raised by the protestors on Sunday was that girls felt they were being “sexualized” in the enforcement process.

Stewart said she did not see anything “inappropriate” in a review of the video footage from the school.

The dress code itself was revised prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year, Stewart said, and the district will keep it in place through the remainder of the school year.

“We actually made a new dress code over the summer,” Stewart said. “It’s more permissive than it was, and it launched in the fall. It was purposeful, that we didn’t put a measurement on an inseam of shorts, even at six inches or whatever. There’s purposeful discretion with the way the dress code is written regarding the length of shorts as the same pair of shorts can look very different in different body types. So that’s why we went with looking at all shorts, mid-thigh, and it’s intended to give the principals some discretion.”

Stewart provided visual aids to help clarify what the district considers acceptable and unacceptable attire.

“It’s really hard to get consensus among staff and students,” Stewart said. “People’s values are just really different. That’s why you’ve got to come up with something.”

See the full dress code here


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