Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Know which outfits won't pass in class

Come Aug. 20, nine more Pinellas schools will join the growing number of those with stricter rules for what students can wear to school.

Related News/Archive

As a minimum, Pinellas has a districtwide dress code — tops must cover shoulders, bra straps, stomachs, sides and backs. Bottoms must be at least mid-thigh length and cover underwear. Two years ago, School Board members considered requiring uniforms at all elementary and middle schools but decided against it.

Since then, more schools have been heading in that direction. The latest are Dunedin, Lynch and Skycrest elementaries and Azalea, Dunedin Highland, John Hopkins, Largo, Palm Harbor and Tyrone middle schools. Nearly all of the schools are struggling with low grades and are combatting tough discipline issues.

At Azalea in St. Petersburg, principal Connie Kolosey said the district dress code leaves room for interpretation and the staff spends too much time enforcing and discussing the rules. She decided more specific ones would help.

"We're trying to encourage the idea that there's appropriate dress for different settings," she said, "which is a life lesson."

In the fall, the district will now have 33 schools with mandatory modified dress code or uniform policies and 11 schools with voluntary policies. Most are elementaries, though seven middle schools and Clearwater High School have joined the ranks.

For many parents, dress code is a divisive issue. Critics say harsh rules restrict kids' individuality and creativity.

A PowerPoint presentation at Oak Grove Middle School in Clearwater outlines the changes for parents. School officials say they "do not see this as a punishment. We see this as a positive action to help improve the overall educational environment on campus, eliminate distractions, increase student achievement and lower behavior problems, teach students how to dress for success, increase school spirit and teach a life skill."

In the same presentation, school officials list discipline numbers they hope to see decrease with the new dress code: 500-plus suspensions, 1,500 referrals and 100 bullying reports.

Kolosey, who is entering her second year as principal of Azalea Middle, said that while most of her students don't like the new dress code, parents and staffers approve.

She said fewer options can make buying clothes less expensive and getting kids dressed in the morning less of a hassle. It might even help parents if their son walks up to the breakfast table with his pants sagging below his hips or their daughter heads out to the bus stop showing too much skin.

"The school can be the bad guy," Kolosey said.

But ultimately, the goal of the dress code, she said, is to help teachers and students concentrate on instruction and learning.

Alli Langley can be reached at

Changes in style

Here are some highlights of the new modified dress code nine Pinellas schools will start following this fall:

, What's on top: Polos in a handful of colors and khaki or navy bottoms are the norm at many schools with uniforms. Some also let kids wear school T-shirts.

Hey, it's heritage: Kilts are on the dress code at Dunedin Highland Middle School. For the school's 250-member band and its 25 bagpipe players and 40 Scottish dancers, they're just part of the uniform. Principal Chris Bates said other students probably won't start wearing them to school.

Over the top: Jumpers worn over collared shirts are okay at many elementaries with uniforms.

Plain Jane jeans: At Oak Grove Middle, blue jeans are okay, but they can't have wording, embroidery, designs, rips, holes, frays or color variations.

Better know your blues: Don't grab just any blue shirt for your Dunedin Elementary School student. Only light blue, royal blue and dark blue are allowed.

That's a color? Stone is one of five shirt colors students can wear to Tyrone Middle.

Know which outfits won't pass in class 08/04/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 4, 2012 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries


    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week


    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91


    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years


    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike


    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.