Chambersburg parents protest school dress code

A group of parents and students in the Chambersburg Area School District says they're fired up over a new dress code that is interfering with their children's education.

Dozens protested in front of the school administration building prior to Wednesday night's board meeting, holding signs and encouraging others to join them.

“This is a public school,” parent Jackie Atchison said. “We don't want a uniform.”

Sally Brooks says her 17-year-old daughter was given “in school suspension” for wearing an approved crew neck shirt.

“She was taken out of class and put in a holding room because her collar bone was showing,” Brooks said. “This is way out of line.”

Strict enforcement isn't just at the high school, parents say. Dawn Racine says her five-year-old son was given a warning for wearing plaid shorts.

“We're not trying to send our kids to school looking like Miley Cyrus,” she said. “We're just trying to send our kids to school so they can be taught.”

Parents also claim different teachers enforce the code differently.

“One girl may get called to the office or sent to ISS for a crew neck that shows her collarbone, while another girl wearing an identical shirt is never challenged throughout the day,” Atchison said.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Padasak says he hears the concerns, but the code will remain in place this school year. He insists only administrators — not teachers — are allowed to enforce the code, minimizing discrepancies.

“It's taken a lot of time to get to this point,” he said. “It was several years and a lot of hard work for a lot of people. So it wasn't something we just did overnight.”

Padasak says there are funds available for any family in need of financial assistance to buy approved clothing. Anyone interested should seek out their school principal.


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