Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando board rescinds dress code policy for schools

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County parents who are preparing to buy school uniforms to comply with a new dress code can put away their credit cards.

With less than three weeks until the start of classes, the School Board abruptly withdrew its proposed changes to the code on Tuesday, citing parent complaints and at least one threatened lawsuit.

Many of Hernando's elementary schools have for years required a khakis-and-polo-shirt sort of uniform. The new policy would have extended that broad standard to middle schools and Springstead High.

That drew a predictable chorus of adolescent protests when it was first announced last spring.

Superintendent Wayne Alexander said the lack of consistency in school policies had reduced many assistant principals to the role of "fashion police," constantly meting out discipline for creeping hemlines or drooping belts.

But the new policy also would have given schools latitude to prescribe styles and colors. And those differences prompted a new round of parent complaints.

Under the new policy, jean shorts were permitted in one place but forbidden in another, said board member Pat Fagan. And children who switched schools could be forced to change their color scheme; while any color shirt was fine at Brooksville Elementary, those at Chocachatti Elementary were limited to navy, white, burgundy or forest green. Make that hunter green at two other schools.

With two out of five board members on vacation Tuesday, Fagan's support for the new policy was crucial. And it wasn't there.

"I think there could have been better buy-in (from parents) if we did not wait until the 29th of July to make a decision," he told the board.

"It begins at home," Fagan added. "I think parents need to take more responsibility for some of these youngsters who come to school dressed inappropriately."

Consistency was important to board member John Sweeney, who said he wanted a "seamless" dress code for every school in the district.

Chairwoman Sandra Nicholson said she hoped to see a revised policy settled by January, in plenty of time for next year.

"We're not going to make people happy, no matter what we do," she said. "(But) notice is given: This is not dead, it's just being postponed."

Board attorney J. Paul Carland said he had advised the district to find some research to back up the dress code changes, after fielding at least one call from a county resident who said he would sue to fight them.

"The basic form we were following was the Polk County model, which has been tested in court and survived," Carland said.

Alexander said he would bring a fully researched, K-12 dress code back to the board for next year. In the meantime, existing dress codes still apply, he said, reading the district code from beginning to end for the television audience.

He told parents who have already purchased clothes in anticipation of the new code that they're on safe ground.

"You can't go wrong if you require your child to dress appropriately," Alexander said. "It's dressing for success."

Tom Marshall can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando board rescinds dress code policy for schools 07/29/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 2, 2008 8:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  2. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Chris Archer has made a name for himself on the mound. And at a time when some athletes work to steer clear of any issue with a tint of controversy for fear it could damage their brand, Archer has used that platform to weigh in on some topical social, political and news events.

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. Candidates for governor get emotional talking about their gay siblings


    Occasionally in today's hyper-rehearsed and contrived world of political campaigns one witnesses moments that are so honest and real, we can't help but understand we're not just listening to another politician give his or her stump speech; We're listening to a human being who understands personal pain at least as well …

    Chris King talking to reporters in Tallahassee
  4. Southern heritage groups sue to keep Confederate monument at old Tampa courthouse

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Groups that say they support Southern heritage filed a lawsuit late Friday trying to halt the removal of a Confederate statue from downtown Tampa.

    Workers place boards around a Confederate monument on Hillsborough County property in Tampa on Thursday, August 17, 2017. It took 24 hours to raise private funds in order to move the statue from its current location.
  5. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI


    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.