A Dothan City Schools official told parents Thursday that proposed code of conduct changes are designed to promote consistency, fairness, effectiveness and efficiency.
Scott Faulk, director of safety, security and attendance, said the forum gave the public the opportunity to talk about proposed revisions to the code, which includes the dress code.
The feedback will be used to create a draft that will be presented to the school board on May 21.The board can accept the draft, reject it, or ask for changes.
A few dozen people attended the meeting at the Dothan High School auditorium to talk about relaxing some dress code regulations and possibly banning corporal punishment for the 2018-2019 school year.
The proposal would allow students in the ninth through 12th grades to wear jeans instead of the presently sanctioned dressier shorts or skirts. Jeans would be permitted as long as they do not have cuts, holes, slashes or other defects.
Only a few minor changes to the elementary and middle school dress code have been suggested. For grades 9 through 12 the rules would be called a dress code and in grades K through 8 would be called a uniform code.
Some in the audience questioned why the changes for high school students couldn’t also be applied to other grades, and others brought up whether provisions make it more or less expensive to outfit students for school.
Others want the dress code to be easy to understand so school officials don’t take away time from instruction to address violations.
Faulk said the original purpose of clothing rules was to eliminate sagging clothing and to cut down on issues between students. School administrators determine the appropriateness of any “fad” or questionable article of apparel.
On corporal punishment, Faulk said paddling is one of the discipline options available to administrators. He said the state says it is legal but less than half the principals in Dothan City Schools use it, and they only use it when parents give them permission.
Faulk said the Alabama State Board of Education is now encouraging local school boards to take corporal punishment out of their codes of conduct, so the local ban has been proposed.
Some in the audience liked that corporal punishment was an option, saying it respects parenting styles in different households.