COLUMBIA, S.C. — Newly approved changes to the Richland District Two dress code will allow students to have more flexibility with what they are allowed to wear, with updates to disciplinary action as well.
As students go back to school shopping, they will now be allowed to look for a wider variety of clothes and styles, which rising eighth-grader, Joselin Cruz Flores says has never happened before.
"We look for t-shirts and things without holes in them, even though I like to wear ripped jeans," the student said.
Flores and her sisters say back-to-school shopping for new clothes is always a challenge that they dread every year.
"It's hard to shop for things that you don't want to wear or you don't like because you know you'll get in trouble if you wear what you want," said former student and older sister, Stephany Cruz Flores.
Stephany graduated from a Richland Two high school in June, and says she was constantly reprimanded for her clothing.
"I got in school and after school detention, suspension, and I had to do community service a few times just for how I dressed," she explained.
The girls are looking forward to the newly updated dress code policies, and hoping clothes will cause them less stress in the future.
In a 4-3 passing vote the district approved all new language for their JICA policy and dress code.
Board chair, James Manning, says the dress code that was used in the previous school year singled out certain groups of kids.
"In the 2021-22 school year there were 423 black or African American kids that were dress coded, and 36 were white," Manning explained.
Under the new dress code, students will now be allowed to wear any kind of top as long as the front, back, and sides under the arms are covered.
The clothing can not show offensive words or imaging, can not be see-through, hide the student's identity, or show the students stomach.
The clothes also can not show the bottom, chest, or private areas, or reveal visible undergarments.
If a student is in violation of the dress code, they will be quietly removed from class to change or cover up the clothing in question.
Multiple dress code violations would equate to violating the Code of Conduct, or refusal to follow the rules which can get students in and out of school suspension, removal from class, or other approved consequences.