Nov 29, 2023

Manteca Unified rolled out an updated dress code Thursday as nearly 25,000 students started a new school year.

The new policy adopted by the school board in May is designed to:

*ensure an equitable gender-neutral, and non-discriminatory approach.

*create a school community where every student feels comfortable and valued.

*use language that is inclusive and sensitive to the diverse identities of today’s students.

*refined the disciplinary protocol to ensure that any dress code violations has minimal loss of instructional time.

Francie Baird, the Manteca Unified School District’s coordinator of Equity and Access, emphasized the dress code was built around health and safety concerns, inclusivity, respect, and, making sure the classroom environment is conducive to leaving.

Baird noted there was extensive input from students, parents, the community, and teachers prior to the school board adopting the revised cress code policy.

It took into account the diversity in the Manteca community keeping in mind safety and health considerations plus things such as sightlines in classrooms.

Hats, as an example, are allowed outside in a nod to protection from the elements.

But in the classroom they cannot be worn just like hoodies cannot cover the head.

At the same time, religious headwear is allowed in classrooms to accommodate various faiths.

Basic requirements of the dress code are:

*A shirt (with fabric in the front, back, and on the sides under the arms).

*Bottom coverings (pants, sweatpants, shorts, skirts, dresses, leggings).

*Shoes (activity-specific shoe requirements are permitted, such as wearing athletic shoes during PE classes.

Under the dress code revision, students may wear:

*Hats, including religious headwear (non-religious headwear must be removed in the classroom)

*Sweatshirts or hoodies (hoods must be removed in the classroom).

*Fitted pants, including leggings, yoga pants, and skinny jeans.

*jeans (as long as the student’s undergarments or bottom is not exposed).

*Tank tops

*Athletic attire.

The dress code prohibits:

*Clothing, headwear, jewelry, or other accessories that show violent language or images, including weapons.

*Accessories that can be considered dangerous or could be used as a weapon.

*Images or language that reference drugs, alcohol, or any illegal materials or activities.

*Hate speech, profanity, and sexually explicit images or language.

*Images or language that create a hostile or intimidating environment.

*No bare abdomens or clothing that reveals undergarments.

*Swimsuits (except as required in class or athletic practice.

*Any item that obscures the face or ears (except as a religious observance or for medical reasons.

Other nuances include students not being penalized in classes in terms of their grade if they do not have appropriate athletic shoes.

The revised Manteca Unified dress code also meets the broad requirements of recently passed state laws.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email [email protected]