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The Lockport School Board has put an end to the wearing of hats, skimpy clothing and lose-fitting footwear in city schools.

The board this week unanimously adoptted a revised district Code of Conduct, which includes an upgraded Dress Code.

The dress code prohibits students from wearing headgear in schools unless there is a religious reason for it.

"There's no long list of prohibited items because that could tend to be discriminatory. It just says hats, bandannas or headgear of any kind is not permissible," said Susan C. Nablo, assistant superintendent for learning and assessment. "There is one exception. If a student presents a letter from his or her clergy person to a building principal, saying a student must wear a type of hat as part of their religion, that will be acceptable."

Board member Renee Knight said the code the board received late this summer contained a list of headgear that was earmarked as inappropriate, including things such as yarmulkes, Jewish skullcaps that have religious significance.

"That list was made up without our knowledge," Knight said, "so we rescinded it (in October and approved a revised one Wednesday night). We don't want to arbitrarily list specific hats as being against the dress code because it could discriminate against a student's religion."

Superintendent Bruce T. Fraser said certain footwear has been prohibited because it could pose a danger to students walking down school stairwells and hallways.

With shoes, the board wanted to be very specific, Nablo said.

"The dress code says, 'Footwear is required at all times, and must be safe and appropriate. Not acceptable are platform shoes, sandals, spike heels, flip-flops without a backstrap and clogs,' " she said.

"It's a school safety issue," Knight said. "We decided we would not permit them . . . because even though kids may like them, our job is to get them home in the same shape they came to school in that morning."

Fraser also said clothing must be modest under the code.

Nablo said the district will soon send a letter to parents reminding them about the dress code.

"This has been a particularly difficult year with the dress code because a lot of what's being featured in the fashion world is very scanty, skimpy and provocative," she said. "So we are asking parents to remind young woman in particular that spaghetti straps, bare midriffs and other skimpy clothing are not appropriate in the workplace and that school is their workplace."


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