TAVARES (CBSMiami) – Florida schools have lots of problems. The state cut budgets to the bone, and local taxpayers are hard pressed to make up the difference. Teachers are being fired. Programs are being cut. And in Lake County, in the heart of the state, the response from the school board is to ban students from wearing orange hair, bangs, and make-up that hides their eyes.
The Lake County School Board used a special meeting to vote on the policy, to make sure a final vote can be held to get the rules into place for the start of the school year August 22nd.
School board members originally changed the dress code to bring the district in line with a new law approved this spring by the Florida legislature. As lawmakers were cutting funds for school programs, they found time to pass what’s widely known as the “droopy drawers” law. That law made schools safe from students wearing sagging pants that show their underwear, an urban fashion trend that riled legislators enough put kids’ pants into the Florida Statutes.
But in adjusting policy to include the law, school board members went a step further. According to the Lake County Schools website, students will be banned from using “extreme” hair styles, including bangs in some cases, “unnatural” hair colors, and extreme makeup that is, “disruptive or does not allow direct eye contact”.
The code also sets rules for, “hemlines for dresses, skorts, skirts, and/or shorts”, which can be no more than 2 inches above the knee.
The dress code even provides instructions on how to use clothing, telling students, “Clothes shall be worn as designed while on the grounds of a public school during the regular school day.”
School officials told reporters they needed to act because “extreme” styles can be “dangerous”, saying it comes down a “safety thing.”
The policy doesn’t really say what’s unnatural or extreme, and leaves it up to the school principal to make the call or assign someone as the school’s clothing cop. Students who don’t get the message could face escalating punishment up to a 30 day ban on taking part in extra-curricular activities.
Students upset with the changes will get one last chance to complain. The school board will take a final vote on the new policy August 22nd, the same day it’s supposed to take effect.