Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
RIVERSIDE — Highland High School students are expected to return to class with different dress code rules, after student representatives and district officials spent this school year hashing out details.
“The kids have been talking about it for a while … student council started talking about it this last fall and throughout the year,” High School Principal Angela Hazelett said. “I think the kids are doing a fantastic job, they’re being very thoughtful, they’re coming up with a lot of things that, as adults, we hadn’t really thought about.”
Student Council Treasurer Carsen Mellinger presented the draft to the school board at a meeting in early May.
“I think anything revised from the last one would be progress,” she said. “They’re not super drastic changes either. It’s more shortened and to the point.”
Mellinger said the biggest change was wording that would allow hats, something the student body considered a top priority.
“We had this discussion last time I was here … you guys mentioned wanting ears, brow bones and eyes to be visible,” she said. “The biggest thing that students have been asking for is the hats.”
The proposed hat code says that while baseball caps and stocking caps are permitted, a student’s ears must be visible at all times.
Another focus of the reworked rules was gender neutrality, as evidenced by proposed language regarding crop tops — which can expose up to 1“ of midriff — and chest exposure, which is frowned upon.
“I would like to say, we don’t want either gender exposing their chest, and either gender can expose their belly,” Mellinger said. “It’s not saying that girls can expose their belly, it’s saying that all students can. And we want to be, as a Highland School district, inclusive.”
Board Member Megan Allen said she agreed with that intent.
“When I talked to students, that was the concern, that it was swinging one way,” she said.
The board has not yet approved a final version of the revised dress code, but Superintendent Ken Crawford said it will take a vote soon.
“They will not wear hats tomorrow, there’s no action by the board on this,” he said. “This is a still a student handbook, student council issue for you guys to clean up anything else you want, change any wording … at the end of the day, they’re going to bring it back before us.”