SBDM discusses potential dress code and class office policy changes at latest meeting


Amanda Tu

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Photo by Margo Morton

The SBDM (Site-Based Decision Making) council discussed potential changes to the dress code and to the requirements for class officership at its last meeting on Wednesday, May 7.

Prior to the meeting, several teachers emailed SBDM member Ms. Laura Spiegelhalter (Family and Consumer Science) to propose dress code reforms that would change the minimum length for skirts, shorts, and dresses from fingertip length to five inches above the knee.

According to Ms. Spiegelhalter, these teachers reasoned that the ‘fingertip rule’ is inconsistent, as different students have different arm lengths. Other schools that follow this guideline use 3×5” index cards to measure whether or not clothing is acceptable for school.

SBDM members came to the consensus that the proposed change would not increase consistency, as students’ leg lengths also vary.

The SBDM will conduct a vote among faculty members at the next faculty meeting, as the original issue was brought up by teachers.

Additionally, Mr. Mayes and the other SBDM council members discussed the current requirements to develop a slate for class office. Presently, to run for class office, students must have a six-person slate “composed of representatives from at least three magnets; have one male, one female, one African-American, and one Caucasian”.

According to Ms. Spiegelhalter, the original rule was implemented in the early 2000s to promote diversity after the seat of class president had been consistently held by a white female multiple years in a row.

Brady Ekman (11, YPAS) originally approached Mayes to raise the issue for discussion.

“The requirement should be eliminated because it minimizes all of the great diversity that we have at our school,” Ekman said. “When diversity is defined as solely black and white, the true multicultural identity of our school is obscured. Thus, the rule should be amended so that diversity is defined to encompass all of the ethnic groups that make Manual what it is.”

The SBDM members agreed that the rule was out-of-date and should be changed, and they questioned whether or not it was even legally enforceable in the first place. They are planning to confer with the school’s legal department to decide how to proceed.

Though the rule has not yet been changed, Brady’s slate will be allowed to run this year without an African-American student.