Several schools choose to opt out of standard attire

Tenn. among 10 states to get No Child Left Behind waiver (Image 2)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Metro schools first adopted standard school attire in 2007, they decided to make it a must for the first two years and then allow individual schools to opt out.

The two year trial period ends this school year and Metro principals who want to move away from standardized dress have made their requests to the school board.

School officials said it's no surprise Metro's more unique schools including all the city's magnet schools are choosing to move away from standard attire.

“Really, it boils down to about eight or nine schools across the board, out of 130 something schools, that want to opt completely out,” said Metro Schools' Assistant Superintendent Ralph Thompson.

Hillsboro Comprehensive High School is one of them.

Hillsboro students were among the most vocal protesting when the school board was considering the stricter dress code.

Principal Roderick Manuel said, “You know, our kids felt as if it was suppressing their creativity and also it became difficult to enforce in terms of tucking in shirts and the type of clothing that kids are allowed to purchase from department stores, the malls all across this city.”

Most schools want to stick with standard school attire or some version of it, including all of Nashville's other comprehensive high schools.

“We saw a change in our building, overall school climate,” said Glencliff High School Principal Tony Major.  “Our kids actually, they behave very well.  We saw an immediate improvement there but also just in the overall appearance of our kids, I personally feel is very important for kids to distinguish between what is appropriate outside of school on their own time, and what's appropriate in an instructional setting.”

There will still be rules about what students can wear for the schools that opt out, drafted by their principals and in compliance with the old dress code.

Metro will soon notify the schools whether their requests to modify or move away from standard school attire were accepted.

The new school-by-school rules go into effect in the fall.

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