County BOE sets policy requiring clear/mesh backpacks for students

Published 6:00 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

Next school year will see a major change for county students as members of the Carter County Board of Education approved changes to the system’s dress code policy requiring all student backpacks to be either clear or mesh next year.

The backpack requirement was one of several changes to the school system’s dress code policy that were approved Thursday evening by the Board during their meeting, which was held at Unaka High School.

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Board member Kelly Crain proposed that the Board waive a second reading on the policy and pass it on first reading.

“I would like to waive the second reading on this so we can adopt it for the 2018-19 school year,” Crain said. “This way, the Back-to-School bashes can provide those clear and mesh backpacks.”

The changes passed following a unanimous vote by the Board.

The new policy on backpacks reads: “Backpacks/book bags must be clear or mesh only. Exceptions will be managed by the principal.”

The following items were also included in the changes to the dress code policy:

• “Hoods” were added to the list of head apparel which is not to be worn in the buildings, which includes caps, hats, headbands, bandannas, toboggans, and hair stockings.

• Shorts, skirts, and dresses cannot be any shorter than three inches above the knee. The previous policy said shorts, skirts, and dresses must come to at least the fingertips when hands are extended at a students side.

• Holes in pants revealing skin should not be any higher than three inches above the knee.

• Blankets were added to the list of prohibited items,  which includes long, large and/or heavy chains; studded or chained accessories, and sunglasses which are not for health purposes.

• Pajamas and bedroom shoes were added to the list of clothing that is considered not appropriate, which includes leotards, bodysuits, biking or jogging shorts, and skintight outer materials such as spandex.

• The addition of “one small stud type piercing in the nose only” to the list of acceptable “facial jewelry.” The previous policy only permitted jewelry in ear piercings. No other piercings are permitted.

• The dress code policy now includes a phrase which allows for exceptions to the policy to be made for medical or religious reasons.