Principal Proposes New Dress Code at Chatham Middle School

Chatham, VA - The principal at Chatham Middle School is taking a stand on what your kids wear to school. Students will see a new dress code policy next school year.

Principal Cedric Hairston says he's seen everything from inappropriate graphics and baggy jeans to low-cut tops.

He hopes the new dress code will be a solution to this issue and make life easier for parents in the process.

Stephanie Motly is a substitute teacher in Pittsylvania County and her son attends Chatham Middle. She says the newly proposed dress code is a step in the right direction.

"A lot of the children get bullied or picked on if they don't have the latest outfit or the newest sneakers, and it's also hard on parents trying to keep up with that financially, " Motly said.

By next year, students may be required to wear button-up shirts and solid colored pants that are free of large logos and graphics.

"Our concern is the distraction that is taking place within the classroom itself, " Hariston said.

He hopes making a more specific, stricter dress code will cut down on the amount of time teachers have to spend disciplining students for what they're wearing.

"That will allow our students to learn, allow our teachers to teach and allow our administrators to be the instuctional leaders we need in the building, " Hairston said.

Administrators say most of the feedback has been positive, though some parents have expressed concerns over the cost of the new clothing.

The Parent Teacher Organization is planning to create a clothing bank for children whose families can't afford the required attire.

"The teachers, the staff and the parents have to be on board, but I think that if it can be done, we're doing it the right way, " said PTO member Lee Turpin.

"We want them to understand that it's not about their looks. It's about their knowledge, " said Hairston.

The new dress code is not set in stone yet.

The principal is still accepting feedback from parents and the PTO, but he hopes to have a solid plan by May 1st to implement in the coming school year.