Kilgore ISD board members have adopted a new district dress code policy, with one member voting against the changes.

At Monday’s board meeting, trustees took up the issue of dress code changes, which were first introduced at last month’s board meeting.

The largest change will be to simplify the district’s dress code policies. Until now, the district used five separate policies, one for each campus. Now, the district will combine those policies into only two, one for elementary grades (1-5) and one for secondary grades (6-12).

There are two specific changes to rules in the dress code. First, policy has been changed to allow male students to wear earrings as long as they are not deemed a distraction by campus administration.

Second, the policy will now require students to cover any tattoos deemed inappropriate by administrators but tattoos deemed not objectionable or distracting can be visibly shown by students.

Board member Dereck Borders was not a fan of the changes, saying they “watered down” the policy and could give students unrealistic expectations about proper attire once they graduate KHS and enter the workforce.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought and I have some real concerns. The first thing that we all know is that our kids push the envelope now as it is,” Borders said. “I don’t think by relaxing the policy that we’re helping the situation.”

Borders allowed that he was “old-fashioned” and that “style has changed” but said, on recent visits to the courthouse and local bank, he noticed dress codes enforced at these locations. That being the case, he said, KISD should prepare students for the real world.

Other board members countered that the dress code was not being relaxed, only updated to

accommodate modern changes in fashion worn by students.

All board members voted for the change with the exception of Borders, who voted “no.”

Trustee Alan Clark asked if teachers had considered implementing a policy requiring school uniforms.

“Several times,” said Kilgore Middle School principal April Cox.

“Is that a positive thing for teachers and administrators?” Clark asked

“It goes back and forth,” Cox said.

Clark said uniforms could make students look nice while simplifying the dress code. Several board trustees agreed.

The board did not take action on another proposed dress code change: the requirement for teachers to keep any tattoos covered at all times on school property. Several teachers and board members have pointed out the unfairness of a policy allowing students to have visible tattoos as long as they are not deemed offensive but teachers can have no visible tattoos whatsoever.

KISD Supt. Andy Baker said the board could make the topic of school uniforms an agenda item for a future board meeting.

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