Milford School District Tweaks Dress Code

22By Terry Rogers

On Tuesday, April 19, the Milford School District Board of Education voted to make additional changes to the school’s dress code due to concerns expressed by parents and administrators. Dr. Phyllis Kohel explained that a recent change to the policy made things difficult for parents and students, something the board did not intend. In addition, she asked administrators to follow the code as strictly as possible, but to also be flexible in some areas.

“Our dress code specifically says solid colors, and this is something we have no intention of changing,” Dr. Kohel said. “But, I recently received a call from a parent whose child was wearing a North Face jacket that was mostly black, but had some gray along the waistband and cuffs. Another student was reprimanded for wearing a polo with very small black flecks in it even though the polo was one of the approved colors. We don’t want to get that particular. Even with the flecks, the polo would be considered a solid color as would the jacket.” School board member Yvette Dennehy asked if a striped polo whose stripes were different but still approved colors would be accepted and Dr. Kohel said it would not.

In February 2016, the board also adjusted the policy to allow students to wear long-sleeved Oxford-style dress shirts and ties. When the change was made, the policy read “Solid-colored scarves, ties and bowties are acceptable.” According to Cindy McKenzie, Principal of Lulu Ross Elementary School, calls were received from parents who were concerned that scarves needed to be solid colors when that had not been the policy prior to that. At the March meeting, a student, Emma Pikus, addressed the board, asking that the policy be changed to allow multi-colored scarves and ties as many students herself included, had requested scarves as gifts in an effort to express individuality without violating the dress code.

“Since we are all wearing the same type of clothing, a scarf allowed us to express who we are,” Ms. Pikus said. “Also, students who are in sports sometimes wear shirts and ties on game days. Most of the guys I know don’t even have solid color ties, so this is a problem for them.”

Jason Kalaygian, who acts as a Student Ambassador for the board, said that many of the students were upset with the ruling against printed ties or scarves. “When we wore shirts and ties, we felt as if we were dressing above the dress code,” Mr. Kalaygian said. “Frankly, I don’t think I own a solid color tie.” Vice-President of the Board, Barry Fry, agreed, stating that he did not own a solid tie either.

As a result, Dr. Kohel proposed that the dress code be adjusted with the words “solid colored” removed so that students could wear scarves, ties and bowties of any pattern or color. Dr. Kohel said that the intent of the policy was not to create hardships for students or parents.

“So far, our students have accepted this with little complaint,” Dr. Kohel said. “We don’t want to push students so they fight the dress code, so we are asking the administrators to step in and allow just a little freedom.” The board approved the change unanimously.

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