WESTON, W.Va. – When Lewis County educators head back to campus Monday to prepare for the new school year, they will face some new fashion rules.

In July, the Lewis County Board of Education banned jeans, shorts and short skirts in the classroom, a move that angered teachers who said what they wear should not be dictated by a dress code.

Christine Campbell, president of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers, said the state’s largest education union let the board know it disagrees with the policy. But that’s where the action has stopped for now.

File photo

Lewis County teachers were banned this summer from wearing jeans, shorts and short skirts in the classroom—a dress code the statewide union opposes.

“We just want to actually see if they are going to impose this dress code to the extent that it was established and if so, we will challenge that (in court),” Campbell told MetroNews.

The union president said the focus of schools should be on the students and their learning not what a teacher chooses to put on in the morning.

“Our focus right now is are they going to spend their time in Lewis County on education and what’s best for students or are they going to be measuring the length of teacher’s skirts,” Campbell said.

Board members enacted the dress code after receiving negative comments from parents about the way some teachers dressed. The board said the educators should dress like professionals.

Campbell said she recently came across a dress code from nearly 100 years ago.

“From 1915, when they had to have two petticoats and they could not have a skirt more than two inches above their ankles,” she laughed. “We hope that we are not going back down that road.”

Campbell said she’s not sure how far teachers will push the dress code once students return to class, but the union will stand behind their educators.

“I hope that Lewis County will do the right thing and focus their time and energy on students and the education of students and not demeaning teachers and micromanaging their attire,” Campbell said.

Students return to class Thursday.

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Comments

  • Mark

    When Lewis county can produce handouts to parents that are not riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, I will listen to the teachers complain about how they are getting cheated. When those that are supposed to be educating our children think adding " 's " to ANYTHING makes it plural, they loose all rights to complain as an educator. Occasional typos, I understand, but I can find these on nearly every handout, be it from the board, the school or the teacher themselves.

    What is even sadder is that if I did bother to point them out to them I would be seen as just a complaining parent while they placed blame somewhere else instead of taking ownership of the problem and actually caring that it occurs.

    Once we fix these kinds of problems, educators can come to the table about how they are being treated. Right now, they are not holding up their end of the deal.

  • Rob

    The point is moot; this issue was decided in Webb v. Mason County (1989). What Lewis County has done is to disregard the real mission of education in exchange for a popular issue that they will lose, squandering time and precious resources on a matter that does not directly impact the mission of the school: preparing our children for a working life. In the end, the public's opinion of the teachers, administration, elected officials, and unions will erode and the effectiveness of the system will diminish. Had the Lewis County Board of Education used an ounce of public-administration common sense, they would have saved themselves a ton of ill-will from the very constituents they are trying to please.

  • Carl

    I believe in freedom of expression. As professionals, teachers influence our children in many ways. Not just by the subject they teach, but by the way they present themselves as a personality. There is nothing wrong with wearing jeans or shorts as long as they are worn appropriately. Some jeans cost far in excess of what is paid for dress pants. I would hope that everyday, when a teach gets dressed, they do so to impress. Whether it be in jeans or khakis, shorts or skirts, tee shirts or blouses, sneakers or patent leather. For the most part, it should be up to the teacher, knowing what the day will be like. What activity is planned, and where the activity will take place. I think that we should give the benefit of the doubt to our educators, and let them decide what attire is appropriate for themselves on any given day.

  • MommyOfOne

    If they want children to have dress codes, then the teachers should abide by dress codes as well.

  • Tom Stark

    This is exactly the attitude among the teacher unions that is reflected in the total lack of discipline and morality that is destroying our education system. Perhaps if children saw their teachers as positive role models, they would perform better in school and take it more seriously. Teachers should not be dressing like students (probably grows out of a "we want to better relate to them," theory or some other mindless drivel). They should be dressing like professionals that they constantly want people to believe they are without acting the part. Grow up teachers and tell your unions to shut up. Anyone who fights this is no professional.

  • MU & WVU

    As several people have commented, many other professions and evironments require a certain dress standard and teachers should be held to the same standards - maybe the teachers should wear a "uniform" too - khaki's and polo shirts. At least then I could tell the teachers from the students in middle and high school. What is even worse is when the teachers are allowed to wear tank tops but if a child wears this, they are required to put on a shirt over it. What is this teaching our children?

  • Nikki

    Why would teachers strive to disobey the dress code? They are being paid to be professionals. They could always look for employment elsewhere if they do not want to act/dress accordingly.

  • longbeards

    I still see nothing wrong with jeans. As I think about this dress code, I guess the old saying it true.
    That is that everything in education is a circle, and if you work in education you will see old become new!
    When I was in 8th grade I had a great teacher, BUT, she became pregnant and when she was about 4 or 5 months she had to leave school because pregnant women where not considered professional in the school system,,,is that next? Go figure!

    • Tom Stark

      Probably should be if the teacher isn't married, but you are likely raising a false alarm as this is highly unlikely and a total straw man argument to divert attention to the fact that many teachers dress like slobs.

  • Robert Weaver

    The said part is that teachers have to be told to dress professionally, there was a time in the not too distant past that they did so on their own.

    I have seen many of the teachers in this county as they enter and leave schools and they should be ashamed. They seem to think they are still children in school as opposed to professional educators.

    This new requirement hurts no one, why teachers and their union are whining about it is beyond me. Teachers: Get a grip. The educational system is not about you, it's about the kids. Dress professionally or find another career.

  • RogerD

    As a retired educator, I am saddened that the profession has sunk so low as to cause a county BOE to impose a dress code. The teacher's appearance can have an impact on what happens in the classroom and it might not always be a positive one.

  • aaron

    These are the same parents that send their sons to school with pants sagging down to their knees, and daughters in outfits that would make a hooker blush if she had to wear it, but are the first to call the ACLU if schools try to install a student dress code. I think there are bigger problems in our education system than teachers wearing Levis.

  • Herd 1

    It is extremely difficult to have an honest exchange of ideas on this website regarding any issue.

  • longbeards

    As a retiring teacher I feel sorry for the younger teachers. Each year there is something added that makes a teachers job harder.
    This year it is the idea that dressing professionally is in some manner tied to your teaching ability. I have worked with many teachers that dress as if they where going to work in a law office, yet it had little effect on their teaching ability.
    I understand that the school board in Lewis County has the power to set these rules, but I hope that they see that a person should be judged not by the color of their skin, their last name, how rich or poor they are, or the cloths they where, but by the way they conduct themselfs in the classroom.
    Respect is earned, not granted due to the type of clothing you wear! If there are problens with teacher dress that requires such action, please deal with the individual teacher!

    • Shadow

      A voice of Reason. I had one good teacher a long time ago and I would have learned and liked him no matter what he wore. It was his attitude and ability that attracted me to learn. I had another that was dressed very well every day that I detest to this day. The whole issue is one of control by the BOE and the whimpering of a few parents and not about Education.

  • Red Dwarf

    I'm deeply ashamed to say that I've taught in Lewis County, though thankfully in a different era. In that time we kept a strict line between student and teacher that was not crossed. We dressed like professional adults, we acted like professional adults. Now these unprofessional so-called "educators" want to act and dress like students. (Heck, in my day students didn't even think of wearing shorts to school!) And teachers are 'friending' students on Facebook and dragging their attitudes down to the adolescent level and leaving any sense of professional or personal pride behind. To the teachers of Lewis County: Grow the heck up and act like adults!

  • Jenna

    What is wrong with dressing business casual? Slack and blouse? Jeans on special days like Fridays for sport pep rally days, field trips, special projects that require getting on the floor..and so on?
    What is wrong with setting a good example for your students..Heavens knows a lot of these children need someone to look up to and respect.
    I certainally would not want somene dressed in a "distracting" manner in front of the class, such as an overly short skirt or sweat pants that have seen too many washings and too many pounds stuffed in.
    If these kids, some of whom do not have good examples at home to begin with, do not have good examples at school, then how can we expect them to strive to have high expectations of themselves in their adult lives?