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LETTER ON DRESS CODE ANGERS HISPANIC PARENTS

School officials were apologizing Thursday for a dress-code reminder sent to parents that went out in English and Spanish but included the requirement of a "clean body and clothing" only in the Spanish version.

The discrepancy had offended some Hispanic parents at Washington Irving Intermediate School, which has 560 pupils and is part of a district that has a 50 percent Hispanic student population. Notes to parents are routinely sent out in two languages.

The reminder was taken from the school handbook, which has the "clean body" requirement in both English and Spanish. That line was "mistakenly left out" of the English version of the reminder, said Superintendent Howard Smith of the Tarrytown School District, which takes in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

"In the course of electronically cutting and pasting the material for the letter from the dress-code section of the handbook, portions of the English version were mistakenly left out," he said.

Also left out of the English version by mistake was a ban on gang-affiliated clothing, not usually a problem with the 9-to-12-year-old pupils at Washington Irving, Smith said.

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