ERIC Number: ED426488
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
School Uniforms: A Blueprint for Legal Challenges.
Simonson, Mary Ellen
Inquiry & Analysis, p1-7 Mar 1997
This article discusses some of the options and strategies available to school districts in defending dress codes which mandate uniforms. Three components are essential to a successful defense: the dress code must bear a reasonable relation to the school's pedagogical purpose, it must include alternative avenues of expression, and it must indisputably be a content-neutral regulation of student dress. The article draws on the experiences of an inner-city school in Phoenix to illustrate what can happen when students defy a dress code. It outlines the school's dress code, how it was not intended to suppress speech, the implementation of the code, the students' defiance of the dress code and their subsequent administrative transfer to schools not requiring uniforms, and the legal challenges to this action. The lower courts ruled that a school district's judgments regulating the mode of student dress are subject to considerable judicial deference and that schools have broad discretion to regulate student speech and conduct. The dress code is considered a permissible regulation of student expression under "forum analysis," that is, the school is not considered a public forum. (RJM)
Descriptors: Court Litigation, Dress Codes, Educational Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, Legal Responsibility, School Uniforms, State Courts, Student Rights
NSBA Council of School Attorneys, 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (by subscription: $75 for 6 bimonthly issues).
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National School Boards Association, Alexandria, VA. Council of School Attorneys.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment