Central Texas school districts make major dress code changes before upcoming year

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 8:40 AM CDT
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MEXIA, Texas (KWTX) - Student dress codes can be a hot topic at times, but some Central Texas school districts have made some changes.

When Mexia students and teachers went back to school on Wednesday, they had a little more freedom with how to dress, all because the superintendent doesn’t want the dress code to get in the way of learning.

Mexia superintendent Ryder Appleton said after the rollercoaster of COVID-19, they wanted to make sure students were in the classroom learning. Appleton said if teachers are spending time debating with students about dress code, then that’s wasting valuable education time.

“If we’re hanging up on little things like how long a male student’s hair is, or a male student having earrings or not, while we’re having conversations about that, we’re wasting valuable time that could be spent on instruction,” Appleton said.

Earlier this year, the district surveyed parents about various changes. Several were made, including allowing students to wear t-shirts, show tattoos not deemed “Inappropriate” and removing restrictions on hair length. The superintendent hopes it has a positive impact on the district.

“We don’t want the dress code to be an obstacle for students to be able to come back and learn. So that was our goal,” Appleton said. “It’s a more encompassing more inviting more welcoming dress code so that we can, you know because everyone agrees, face to face instruction is the most effective way to educate children.”

Mexia ISD isn’t the only district to make changes. Troy ISD also made changes to their school dress code after days of debate earlier this year about a male student’s hair.

Troy ISD superintendent Neil Jeter said the school surveyed parents and school staff and a committee reviewed results. There were significant changes, including removing the difference between the rules for male and female students. Male students can have their hair at any length, but it must be clean and groomed.

Jeter said in a statement to KWTX that he hopes this will help “maintain a positive learning environment.”

Mexia students went back to school on August 11, and Troy ISD heads back on August 23.

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