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Cleveland Municipal School District drops uniform policy

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The Cleveland Municipal School District announced on Monday that it will no longer require students to wear uniforms as a part of its dress code.

CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.

In a letter sent to staff members on Monday, Cleveland Municipal School District CEO Eric Gordon revealed that the district had adjusted its dress code and will no longer require uniforms for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

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“One of the areas parents, students and educators have all asked the district to revisit, both before the pandemic shutdown, once again as we reopened schools last spring, and now as we prepare for fall, is our CMSD dress code,” Gordon wrote. “As a result, over the summer, a small task force of administrators and teachers reviewed the dress codes and dress expectations of a number of school districts in Northeast Ohio, in other large city school districts in Ohio, and in school districts across the country. This task force used the feedback we received from students and parents, as well as model dress code policies, to develop a new more inclusive set of dress expectations for the CMSD.”

As a part of the district’s new gender-netural dress code, which Gordon said is intended to “ensure students dress in a manner that is appropriate, comfortable and conducive to an active academic school day,” as well as “support all students in developing a body-positive self-image,” CMSD students will not be permitted to wear the following:

  • clothing that is see-through
  • clothing where the buttocks or torso is exposed
  • clothing or accessories which show profanity, obscene words or pictures, sexually suggestive statements, violence or incitement to violence
  • clothing representing gang-related activities
  • clothing where the entire thigh is exposed, such as micro minis or short shorts.
  • bathing suits or cut-offs
  • the wearing and carrying of tobacco promotional items, or items promoting controlled substances (drugs) and/or alcohol
  • clothing where undergarments are exposed
  • clothing that has text or visual images that is libelous, bullying, constitutes harassment or discrimination
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Gordon also noted that students are not permitted to wear backless or open-toe footwear to school or at school functions and that students may continue to wear traditional CMSD uniforms, although they are no longer required.

“Schools and school communities that wish to maintain a more formal dress code as part of their school model are able to do so,” Gordon said. “However, those schools must engage in a meaningful effort to include parents in the selection of the uniform and uniform combinations to be worn and must provide families with ample time to purchase the appropriate clothing before implementing that school-based policy.”

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