Monday, August 4, 2008

Texas School District Has Coveralls for Dress Code Violators


School administrators have tried countless tactics to control the behavior of the teenagers who occupy their buildings for seven hours every day. They have removed the soda and snack machines from the cafeteria to curb obesity. Students at some schools are now required to wear photo IDs around their neck or carry only see-through backpacks to improve security. Now, one school district in Texas is going even further … they are assaulting the adolescent sense of fashion!

The Gonzales School District, which is located about an hour outside of San Antonio, is implementing a new policy that will require students who violate the dress code to wear blue coveralls unless parents bring an approved outfit from home. Spaghetti-strap tank tops, miniskirts, extra baggy pants, cargo pants, T-shirts or clothes that reveal underwear can all be deemed cover-worthy.

Some parents do not like the idea of children being told to wear clothing that resembles the standard-issue outfit given to prison inmates. (Fun fact – the coveralls actually are being made by inmates in the Texas prison system!) However, if parents do not have time to bring a new outfit to school, students also can opt for in-school suspension instead of wearing the jumpsuit.

As expected, there are legal questions being raised surrounding this new policy. Fleming Terrell, a staff attorney from the ACLU of Texas, said, "Public school dress codes should be limited to what's necessary to guard against actual disruption to the educational process and threats to safety. The jumpsuits may be just as distracting as the clothing they're replacing."

Terrell may be right. Students are certain to be talking about their new prison gear as much as, if not more than, their English homework. Some students are even planning to violate the dress code on purpose just to have the opportunity to wear the jumpsuits. Forget sweatpants with words written on the backside or shaggy haircuts … faux prison outfits are the hot, new trend!

At Bertolino LLP, we have criminal defense attorneys available to help you if you find yourself in a real prison jumpsuit. If the allegations against you are more serious than wearing jeans without a belt, please contact us and let’s discuss your case.

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