Dress Code

Student Dress Code Policy


One of the fundamental purposes of school is to provide the foundation for the creation and development of a proper attitude toward education. In order to further this purpose, it is essential to create and maintain an effective teaching and learning environment. Student attire impacts the teaching and learning environment. It can either promote a more effective educational environment, or it can disrupt the educational climate and process. Student attire that is acceptable for some social settings may not be acceptable for the educational environment of school.

In order to ensure that our students’ education is conducted in an environment where safety risks, disruptions, and distractions are minimized, all students in the Portsmouth City Public Schools will adhere to the following minimal standards of dress. These requirements are in addition to any requirements imposed at individual schools that, with the approval of the School Board, adopt a Uniform Policy pursuant to other provisions of this policy manual.
The superintendent is hereby authorized to promulgate regulations consistent with the provisions of this policy.

In general, students are not to wear or carry items of apparel to school (for example, clothing, accessories, cosmetics, jewelry – including body piercing) that may interfere with the instructional process or present a health or a safety hazard to the student wearing or carrying them, or to others.  The School Board urges parents and students to exercise sound judgment, based upon the standard of appropriateness for the school setting, when choosing clothing, jewelry, and accessories to wear or bring to school, and to recognize that items that might be appropriate attire on nights or weekends are not necessarily appropriate for the school day and the classroom.

Interpretation and Implementation of Policy

The building principal/designee shall use reasonable discretion in interpreting and implementing the provisions of this policy. If a conflict arises in the interpretation of this policy, the interpretation of the building principal/designee shall be final. Principals,administrators and teachers shall use reasonable discretion in enforcing this policy.


Teachers and administrators may deny class entrance to students dressed or otherwise adorned inappropriately until arrangements may be made for their proper attire. Students who are insubordinate or refuse to change the improper attire, or who repeat dress code violations shall be subject to disciplinary action for violating the Code of Student Conduct.

Temporary Exceptions and Waivers

The building principal/designee and superintendent shall grant waivers where required by law to protect fundamental constitutional rights. The parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student may request a waiver from a specific provision of this policy and any related regulations where the strict enforcement of a provision would violate the student’s fundamental rights. Such requests shall be in writing and addressed to the building principal/designee of the student’s school. If the building principal/designee denies the request, the parent(s) or guardian(s) may appeal their decision in writing to the superintendent or his designee. There shall be no hearing in such appeals; the superintendent or his designee will review the written record only. The final decision of the superintendent or his designee shall be in writing. There shall be no appeal from the final decision. In order to allow appropriate attire fora particular educational or school activity, the building principal/designee has the authority to grant temporary exceptions to specific provisions of this policy and related regulations. An example of such an exception might be where a specially scheduled school event required a group of students to dress unusually on a particular day.

Adopted: August 29, 2002
Revised: September 19, 2002 to become effective January 1, 2003
Legal Refs.: Virginia Code Sections: § 22.1-253.13:7.D.3 and § 22.1-279.3A
§ 22.1-79 (Powers and Duties of School Boards);
§ 22.1-253.13:7 (Standard’s of Quality, Standard 7, Policy Manual), and
§ 22.1-279.3 (Parental responsibility and involvement requirements)
Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 95 S. Ct. 729 (1975)
Tinker v. Des Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S. Ct. 733 (1969)
Hicks v Halifax County Bd., 93 F. Supp.2d 649 (E.D.N.C./4th Cir. 1999)
Byars v. City of Waterbury, 1999 WL 391033 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1999)
Phoenix El. School District v. Green, 943 P2d 836 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1997)
Cross Refs.: JFC Student Conduct
JFC-R Standards of Student Conduct
JFC-P Code of Student Conduct

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