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More acceptable Durham Public Schools dress code; hats and hoodies still banned

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DURHAM, NC (WTVD) — By unanimous consent, the Durham County School Board voted Thursday night to make major changes to its student dress code. Bra straps and belly are now allowed to be visible; Underwear belts too, as long as the pants aren’t low enough to show anything more. In fact, most clothing is permitted under the new policy, whether “private areas” are covered.

But the staff made a change: Hats and hoodies are still off limits for students.

“After the meetings (with school administrators), the administration’s decision was not to recommend them to the board…Hats and hoodies will not be permitted,” the chief of staff explained. of the DPS, Tanya Giovanni, to the council before the vote.

DPS aims to be more inclusive, more respectful and reflective of its students; an off-the-beaten-path approach to traditional dress codes that critics say unfairly targeted students who identify as women and students of color.

Thursday’s decision follows years of contentious back and forth over the district’s dress code. In February 2016, protests took place outside Durham School of Creative Studies as students and parents rallied against the dress code after it was said that students were not allowed to wear African headscarves for Black History Month.

“It’s not fair. It’s not fair. We won’t tolerate it,” one student told the crowd through a megaphone.

And last year, Nicole Pyles, a 16-year-old Hillside High softball player, was forced to cut her braided hair beads mid-game when the umpire ruled the hairstyle a violation.

“I’m proud to have that kind of hair. But I realize that having hair tears you apart sometimes,” Pyles said at a DPS event earlier this year celebrating black hair.

The new policy explicitly allows traditionally black hairstyles, including streaks and braids, and traditional African hair coverings, like the geles that students protested five years ago, are now also allowed.

The new dress code, like the old one, still prohibits clothing depicting violence, drugs, profanity, and other offensive material. It also assumes that everything a child wears to school is approved by their parents. Thus, it puts the responsibility back on DPS families to read the new rules.

Copyright 2022 WTVD-TV. All rights reserved.

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