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NEW dress code changes for Tulsa Public Schools

Updated:
Tulsa Public School students may start back to school with a different look than some of them planned. The school board is proposing a new dress code it says is needed to promote a better learning environment.

KOTV's Glenda Silvey got reaction from students "I think it's just plain stupid." "I believe people should be allowed to express themselves freely." That just about sums up the opinions of many summer school students about the proposed new dress code for Tulsa Public Schools.

Most say they understand rules against clothing promoting gangs, violence, alcohol, drugs and sex. But they argue that banning items such as chains, caps, bandanas and flip-flops goes too far. Another student, Alicia Zelsnack, "That's just the way kids express themselves and if they're not allowed to express themselves you're going to have a lot of sad and depressed people."

The district says it supports students' right to expression, but that can't interfere with the learning environment. Dr LaVerne Wimberly: "As the students would come to school, they would wear just anything because they were simply mirroring what's being sold in the various stores and they certainly all want to be 'in'."

The new policy would also prohibit all body piercing except ears, sagging and torn clothing. Also out: anything baring midriff, shoulders and back. Girls come to school dressed like Britney Spears, says teacher Santos Motley. "Well, that is a distraction to some of the students. Some of the guys hoop and holler about the way the girls dress, the girls get upset, and a problem starts."

Parent Kathryn Foster approves of the change. "I think it would be better for the kids, so they can keep their minds on education instead of what each other's wearing and who's not wearing what and who's not able to wear what."

The school board will make a final decision on the new policy in two weeks. A committee of principals, teachers, counselors, parents and students created the dress code.

Students unable to comply for financial reasons may apply for funds to buy clothing that conforms to the policy.
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