Short skirts: MCS looks at 'dollar bill test'


By David Avitabile

Middleburgh Central School may have a new dress code using George Washington as a model.
At a public hearing on updating the student code of conduct for the 2015-16 school year Wednesday, parent Victoria Chichester suggested that instead of the "finger tip test," that Middleburgh switch to the "dollar bill test."
For that, she explained that shorts, skirts, and dresses would be allowed as long as they are not more than the width of a dollar bill above the knee.
Several other schools, including Schoharie, use the same standard and is less open to interpretation, she added.
"Arm length has nothing to do with it," she told board members.
"There are no complications, no issues. It works with everybody."
Students do not have to be touched as part of checking if they pass the dress code.
If the skirt, shorts or dress is higher than the dollar bill, students are asked to change, she continued.
"No conflicts, no issues and it goes away."
Resident Lisa Tenneson noted that the change would put the "responsibility back on the students and that's important."
The dollar bill test would be "very clear on limitations and when they go home it should be simple."
If MCS changes the policy for next year, "There's going to be some wardrobe changes," noted teacher Joseph Narzymski.
Elementary school Principal Tracy Davidson said she likes the consistency of the dollar bill test, but added, "Some girls at the elementary school have to get a new wardrobe."
The finger tip test allows higher skirts, shorts and dresses.
When shopping, "You may have to argue with your child, but it works," Ms. Chichester added.
Superintendent Michele Weaver noted that officials have been discussing the policy, which is district-wide all through the year and will take the recommendation into consideration. A recommendation will be made soon for the next school year.
Secondary school Principal Michael Teator noted that for the most part, the student handbook is pretty standard and there were "no red flags for problems throughout the year."
The handbook, he added, contained a chart for consequences for violations.
In April, Mr. Teator reported that dress code violations were up by 600 percent (from three to 18) in the fall, and, as of the end of April, up by 400 percent from seven to 28.
Teachers and administrators were asked to crack down on dress code violations (as well as tardiness to class) this year, Mr. Teator told school board members.
In another proposed change to the handbook, secondary school Principal Lori Petrosino noted two proposed changes: if an incomplete is not made up on a report card, it will become a 50; and seniors will be allowed to leave for work in the morning or afternoon.
The incomplete to a 50 had been the practice but not a policy.