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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco superintendent to staff: Dress professionally

19

August

During his campaign for office, Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning heard complaints that some teachers dressed as if every day were Friday afternoon (or, on occasion, even more casually than that).

With the first day of classes fast approaching last week, Browning sent not one but two memos to staff reminding them to dress appropriately. The first memo, Browning said, was written in a stiff tone warning what not to wear, and at least a few employees took offense.

It opens:

Our personal appearance directly impacts the professionalism that we display when working with fellow staff, School Board members, students, parents, and members of the general public.  Employees, therefore, are expected to maintain a professional appearance at all times.

In accordance with the Board’s policies on professional appearance, each worksite supervisor is authorized and expected to create reasonable regulations in order to maintain the appropriate professional appearance expectations at his/her worksite. Worksite supervisors also are permitted to offer occasional opportunities for more relaxed dress, however employees are still expected to dress in a manner that maintains the dignity of the education profession. ...

Listed below are examples of apparel not appropriate on any workday:
•    Overly-tight fitting or revealing clothing
•    Visible undergarments
•    T-shirts, sleeveless undershirts, or outer shirts of similar design
•    Tank tops or muscle shirts

"We kind of got a little bit of pushback," Browning acknowledged, explaining that some respondents viewed the message as one that should go to students, not adults.

So he had a different employee -- one focused on public relations rather than policy enforcement -- write a more approachable clarification. It starts off:

Let’s try this again… In accordance with the Board’s policies on professional appearance, each worksite supervisor is authorized to create reasonable guidelines in order to maintain the appropriate professional appearance among staff at his/her worksite. Worksite supervisors also should be free to offer occasional opportunities for more relaxed dress; however, we still want employees to dress in a manner that maintains the dignity of the education profession.

Now, here are some general guidelines for dressing comfortably and appropriately at school.

•    Comfortable, but well-tailored clothing is best.
•    Be fashionable, but be careful about passing trends.
•    Wear clothing that distinguishes you from your students!
•    Shoes should be sensible while also being fashionable and professional.

The main goal, Browning stressed, is to make sure everyone understands the expectations. And his, he said, are that professional educators should look the part. "I just don't want jeans to be the dress of the week."



[Last modified: Monday, August 19, 2013 2:26pm]

    

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