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Janesville School District considers dress code for teachers

Published On: Nov 13 2012 07:49:54 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 13 2012 09:23:00 PM CST

JANESVILLE, Wis. -

Teachers in the Janesville School District may no longer be able to wear jeans at work.

The Janesville School Board is reviewing a draft of the district's new dress code Tuesday night.

David Parr, president of the Janesville Education Association, said the district's proposed dress code policy came out of left field.

"It went from one sentence to four pages. That's quite a jump," Parr said. "Is there a problem? We don't believe there is. But if there has been a problem, why hasn't anybody heard about it?"

Steve Sperry, the district's human resources director, said there is a problem.

"Do we have some people that would wear their pants below their belt line? Yes. That's not acceptable. Do we have some people who'd wear flip flops to work? Yes, and we've had some people doing that," Sperry said.

Under the new proposal, teachers would be required to wear a sport coat, collared shirt and tie, or polo shirt. There are also rules for skirt length and sundresses. Sperry said the district wants to outline its expectations for employees.

"As we were working on developing a new employee handbook, we decided, 'Let's clean this up. Let's make sure we have very clean expectations for all of our employees,'" Sperry said.

Sperry said the policy will be enforced at the discretion of the principals or direct supervisors.

Parr said the teachers want to dress professionally and they'll provide input on this new proposal. But he said removing jeans from the wardrobe of the union's 1,400 members just isn't practical.

"In a regular school day, it's hard to do the things we do in a skirt or dress slacks or a suit," Parr said.

Though the school board is expected to discuss the proposal Tuesday, no action is scheduled.

Parr is scheduled to meet with the district superintendent next week to discuss the proposal.

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