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

  • steve

    I personally like teachers in short skirts..................as long as the rest of their measurements are in proportion to a normal weight and size.

  • GW

    The students' first day back to school is Monday.

  • Woodchuck

    Teachers like the dress code. It is the union that is opposed to the dress code. Remember the union is the problem not the teachers.

    • wvu999

      So you're telling me all teachers in Lewis County like the dress code and out of no where the AFT came in and took on a fight their membership isn't looking for? Seems legit that the AFT would spend thousands of dollars and hours of time fighting something none of their members want.

      Woodchuck, seriously,,,, seriously?
      You're funny

  • wayne

    Newly retired, I did dress business casual throughout my 35 years of teaching for the most part. There are times that I would wear jeans, based upon what we were doing. If you are going to be down on the floor, working with dirt, paints or whatever your business casual is not appropriate. You get paint or whatever on your dress pants or shirt and it won't come out, it's ruined, you will reevaluate business casual. I've had elementary kids to ask, "Why do you always wear a suit?" There was no suit, it was business casual. I just looked good and they noticed a difference as compared to colleagues with jeans and sweat pants. Dress codes need to be in moderation. Use some common sense.....well good luck on that concept.

  • Joe

    Eagle, Rita:

    While I acknowledge your positions, this is the root of the problem....

    Respect from students, which teachers indicate is their number one issue, begins with teachers respecting their own profession. While you may not agree, the majority will post that begins with dressing professionally and appropriately. I honestly cannot understand why this is so hard to fathom. And before anyone states that there should then be a clothing allowance, all I'll say is that the teachers already have one. It's called their paycheck.

  • Morgantown

    It's not money held back! Teachers have the option of spreading their pay over the full 12 months and only working 9! I would love to have a job like that!

    Also, the teachers are expected to enforce a dress code policy for the students, why would the teachers be exempt?

    • GW

      Then, Morgantown, take 4-5 years out of your life and get that education since it is so easy. I bet you won't. Talk is cheap and since teaching is so easy, I say go for it.

      • Morgantown

        GW...I'm not saying they don't work hard, they do. But complaining that money is withheld from them? Ridiculous. Also, I did my time. I have a bachelors and graduate degree and I don't have the option of taking 3 months off and still receive a paycheck. Summer is their reward for working hard and it's quite unfair that some choose to still complain about it!

        • GW

          I don''t have the option of having summers off. It is mandated. I would gladly work a 265 day contract.

  • Rita

    It is a sad day when an educated professional must be told how to dress...this debate is unnecessary, a better use of time and energy would be to discuss ways to improve the education process for their students versus making a fashion .statement.....

    • The Great One

      I agree 100% with you, some of these people probably don't even have jobs. You know what they can kiss? I'll be nice enough to let them pick which side.

  • tw eagle

    I realize that you can't take the schoolboard "out to the shed" but you can do it by taking them out of office . . .what you wear has as little to do with teaching as with learning . . .other than trying to avoid political,
    religious, or sexual contexts , how you dress
    will NOT affect how you learn or teach . . .where or better yet how did these PC morons come from . . .better than throwing them out of office , I say they be run out of the state altogether . . .this PC insanity has no business in West Virginia . . .

  • Chad

    They need to dress business casual at least, the men shouldn't have to wear ties but at least button ups and polos. Females should not wear shorts, skirts should be to their knees, it's about education and professionalism.

  • saltydog

    3 Months of vacation? Do you mean the 3 months of mandatory unemployment I have had to go through for the last 30 years? I don't get paid for time not worked in the summer. Some teachers choose to spread their checks over the summer but that money is simply money that the local school district holds back from checks throughout the school year.

    • Joe

      Uh....right....that is what referred to as your annual salary. You simply choose to receive it all during a nine month period. Teach for America....where are you?!

      • GW

        Teach for America is nothing but resume padders looking to move on in a few years. It is one of the biggest jokes in education. However, I do agree that professional dress is becoming a thing of the past. That said, you cannot expect a kindergarten teacher to wear a business suit, but wearing sweats to school is unacceptable.

        • jm

          Will give you that total dress clothes may not necessarily a top pick for pre-k and kindergarten......... but no reason others cant dress in a respectful and appropriate manner. Other than they would file a grievance because someone else did not have to.

      • Michael

        Joe, teachers are employed on a 200 day contract and not a 365 days per year basis. So to be fair they are forced into unemployment for a few months. And just because they can recieve thir pay over a 12 month period doesn't mean they are on an annual salary plan. To obtain this method of pay they lose alot of pay during the school year so they can spread it out over a 12 month period.

        • Joe

          How exactly are you "forced"? You agreed to the terms and conditions of the job and compensation. Again, regardless of what you state, you receive and annual salary for the calendar of your chosen profession.

          • GW

            Joe,
            Please let us know your profession since I am sure every detail isn't front page news 2-3 times each year (1st day of legislative session, WESTEST time, and school opening). Also, I pay taxes, too. So, essentially, I pay back part of my salary to pay my salary?

      • WVRedneck

        You have the best pay, benefits and retirement plan of of state workers in WV. You get three months off in the summer to go along with your annual vacation time. I make a little more money than you in private employment but would gladly take your deal over mine in a heart beat.

        All you people do is whine! You knew and agreed to your career choice going in. No one dragged you into it kicking and screaming.

        Live within your means and the choices you made.

        • GW

          What vacation time? We have NO vacation days to take. 3 "personal days" a year that cannot be used consecutively.

          • charles

            JUNE,JULY,AUGUST!!!

        • GW

          Then go back to school and hop on the gravy train.

        • WVRedneck

          That's all you got huh?

          You all complain and cry and whine relentlessly over how bad you perceive you're life is as a result of your choice for a career. Seems to me you are the ones who need to go back to school.

          I made my choices the same as you. The difference however is I am mature enough to live with them.

          • WOW

            For the record, I agree teachers should dress professionally. However some people's posts in the "comments" are mistaking a person standing up for rights as whining. Our nation was founded on questioning our leaders; why are teachers expected just to lie back, stop "whining", not question, but just do as they're told. Are they serfs or employees with the right to question, bargain, and work to better their profession.

            The teaching profession has changed tremendously in the past few decades. Public opinion has plummeted, job expectations and duties are different, and the amount of time at work is different. Teachers do not get June, July, and August "off" anymore! That may have been true in the 80's or even 90's but not anymore! Most teachers start school in mid-August and end in mid-June. So, 3 months VACATION is wrong. First, what is vacation? Most factory workers will earn PAID vacation days. My father after working (without a college degree) earned 8 weeks of paid vacation before he retired. Teachers are not offered paid vacations! They are simply not working and not paid. These are facts not complaints.

            I grow wary of others ridiculing and belittle teachers who want to make the profession more desireable by improving benefits, increasing pay, and offering input in what they've devoted their lives to doing. If we as a society do not respect the teaching profession, support our local teachers, we will not attract honorable, respectable young people into the profession. Where would our nation be then? If you think public education is bad now, it will only get worse if we don't wake up and treat what was once the most honorable profession with honor again.

        • WVRedneck

          You can quit and go find yourself a new career doing something you will likely also whine and complain about anytime you desire.

          No one has the perfect job, the perfect life, the perfect anything. Your life is what it is. You don't like it, change it.

        • Leo

          Let's trade then WV Redneck, I assume you have your teaching degree, including a masters +45 extra hours? Then you are good to go, but I bet you won't last a day in a classroom of kids telling you where to go!

          • WVRedneck

            It always comes down to that with you guys doesn't it. Go get a masters bla, bla bla, when most of you don't even have one. Even if you do that's your mistake if you spent all those years getting a degree to work in a field that all you do is whine and complain about and feel pays too little for how long you went to school.

            I didn't choose to be a teacher, you did. And as far as the kids behavior, you guys brought that on yourselves when you all went after parents for correcting their children by spanking them calling it child abuse. This left you with the only other choice to keep controll of them, drugging them. This is now showing up later in life as having allot of bad side effects in return for making your job easier.

            Makes one wonder who was worse for them. A parent who properly spanked their child or you guys.

    • Rita

      Isnt that 3 months off in the sunmer more like a benefit than mandatory unemployment???? Lets not forget that you still get paid for all those snow days...Thanksgiving break....Christmas break and spring break and your not even in the classeoom....if I cant make it to work due to weather I dont get paid or if I want time off I have to use my vaction time in order to get paid....nothing wrong with getting a summer.job if you would rather work

      • GW

        Teachers are paid for the day of the Holiday only (just like any other state employee), not for the entire week. Are snow days mandatory? I say run the buses, I have no problem coming into work. It's done for the safety of the kids. I can go and teach an empty classroom just a easily as a full one.

        • jm

          GW..........while I agree that snow days are for the safety of the kids.... however, I have been personally told by members of the State Board and past state supt.'s that the biggest gripe about snow days came from the teachers unions concerned about teachers safety driving to school.... Teachers should all have to go to work on snow days.... they could do training, parent conferences, or "all" of that work they claim they do at home and not get paid for....no sympathy

          • WOW

            Ok. That's fine if they call in the teachers to work during snow days. The teachers would benefit from a day to catch up on research for new teaching ideas, have time to meet and collaborate, receive training with the new technology, etc. However, when that snow day "make up" day comes, the teachers will have worked more days outside their contracts and by law must be paid for their work.

      • Michael

        Rita, I guess there is nothing wrong with you becoming a teacher if "you don't want to work" then!

        Alos, BTW are you doing anything for your job today? Probably not!!! My wife has spent the last three hours working on lesson plans for class this week. It 's like this year after year. Keep working your job Rita, you would complain if you were teacher too!

        • Joe

          Rita:

          Michael is right. No other profession brings work home after work or on weekends. Only teachers. I mean, many have masters degrees, as they will tell you. What other professions do that?!

          • Curious

            Other professions do require bringing work home after work and on weekends, many times after working over eight hours a day. And many of those professionals receive less pay than do teachers.

      • Woody

        Teachers are paid for 7 holidays and one election day. And they work for another 192 days. It is not a yearly contract - it is a 200 day contract.

      • WOW

        Snow days...ok. Well, let's look at what really happens. When a snow storm occurs, the Super Intendent of Schools has finally say but often gets input from the Director of Transportation (for schools) and the state police reports. The teachers do not have any say in their unscheduled days off. Secondly, saying teachers are paid for those snow days is technically correct, HOWEVER, what you fail to realize is that teachers (and students) have to "make up" those days farther into the summer (unpaid). They are not paid for those "make up" days since they received their pay during the pay period when the snow day occured.

        As for Christmas break, thanksgiving break, and spring break, you are again mistaken that teachers are paid for those breaks. Christmas break: teachers are paid for Christmas day and New Year's Day...that is it. All those other days are unpaid days. Thanksgiving break: teachers are paid for Thanksgiving Day and nothing more! And, finally spring break: NO days are paid days. Don't believe me? Check out your local school board website and find the official calendar. It's there in writing and available to the public.

        Teachers do not get 3 months off in the summer. Most teacherswork from mid August to mid June. That's 2 months, 8 weeks off in the summer. As for the summer job...what employers hire for just 2 months in the year? Plus, with Senate Bill 359, the opportunity for teachers to work summer jobs from those few companies who do hire for short periods at a time will not be possible for teachers could very well work on a year round teaching calendar for the same pay.

    • Pudge

      Nobody accepts a job without asking what it pays. To complain afterwards is foolish.

    • Rich

      Have you thought of looking for a different job if you are unhappy with the pay that you receive?

    • Mtneer in Ohio

      Are you not allowed to have a job during your 3 months of unemployment? In Columbus, some of my teacher friends teach summer school.

  • Bill

    I think if teachers want to be called a professional then they should dress like one. I see nothing wrong with an employer being able to set rules for employment. Dressing like a professional is part of their employment! Why is it that employees think they can set all the rules of their employment? My real thoughts are if they don't like the rules of employment find another job!

  • Joe

    As far as the dress code, if teachers don't recognize the authority of the school board to set dress code polcy, who then has that authority in their eyes. Pretty straightforward question to any teacher out there.

    • The Great One

      All you all do is get on here and take your cheap shots at teachers. If many of you were good parents as opposed to chronic complainers, we would all see better results in the classroom and society. I wish all I had to do was get on here and bash teachers.

  • Joe Cool

    Do they have a dress code during their 3 month vacation?

    • Rob

      You mean the 3 months that they're technically unemployed? Because you know they're not paid for that time, right? And that regardless many still attend training or work on lesson plans or in their classrooms? While not being paid? I'm sure you do know that, to go on the internet and give your opinion so vehemently.

      • Joe Cool

        Are you saying they don't receive benefits like health insurance over the summer? Since they're unemployed and all?

        • Wvsasha

          we PAY for the health care to continue over the summer.....

      • scott

        so why doesn't my wife receive unemployment checks for those 3 months she's "technically" unemployed?

        • Teresa

          She doesn't receive unemployment because she signs a contract for 200 days out of 365 and is paid a salary for those days. She can opt to receive her pay over 10 months or 12 months. Now that the state had approved an open calendar for each county, it may help non-educators to better understand. Teachers actually have very few "paid" holidays. The rest of the time off is unpaid.

          • scott

            so i make almost to the dollar the same amount as my teacher wife, she does it in 200 days, i do it in 240 days. who has the better job Teresa?

  • Joe

    What children are Ms. Campbell talking about....the teachers or the students?!

    Holy cow, is whining a required course in teaching college?!

    • Brian

      Joe -
      You are a vindictive idiot.
      I do not teach, never have. I own a small business in the Hurricane area that employees 15 folks and I work 70-80 hour weeks. My spouse does NOT work in public education, nor do any close family or friends. But, the drivel that oozes from your mean-spirited piehole concerning public school teachers is getting OLD.
      Some are lazy. Some are bad at their job.
      No doubt.
      But I think the vast majority do a fine job, pay state/local taxes, give to charities, go to church, support local economies, raise their kids and PRACTICALLY raise hunders of others during a career.
      I have noted your particular venom concerning teachers in several comment sections over the last few months.
      Like a few other folks said - I'd LOVE to know exactly what YOU do to help and support the citizens of our great state.
      No need to counter Joey; I've got a pretty good idea you do very little in this regard!!. Go back to your Van Halen references and what ever else you do.
      And get OVER those couple teachers you hated in Junior High son, life goes on.

      • TeacherForLife

        I am so surprised when I find my colleagues acting like idiots. Wait - I'm not. The fact is we will NEVER be paid and/or perceived as professionals until we follow a dress code. Most major corporations have them for their employees. why not us? I wear a tie every day, and I have noticed that the Educators that dress like our students - ACT like the worst of them. Proper attire elevates how you feel about yourself and how others see you. Any other opinion is really just lying to yourself. Of course, we can wear what we want in our free time (just like other professional employees do) but while in class and on campus - we MUST wear a proper uniform. Lewis County Board of Ed is SPOT ON.

        • Bondo

          Correctional Officers dress "professionally" everyday and make half the salary a teacher does already. Dress has nothing to do with your abilities. But, you should be presentable.

        • High School Teacher

          I agree with you. I support the union, but I do not support the fight against a reasonable dress code. Teachers should dress like professionals, and it is perfectly reasonable to expectation. It is sad that specifics must be laid out- some teachers would wear sweatpants to school if they could. I wish AFT would stop wasting time and money fighting this and focus on important issues. The right to wear jeans to work is NOT important.

  • jm

    Why the teachers complain so about this is beyond me. Jeans do not portray professionalism. Shorts are not a staple in the professional world..... And as for short skirts...........come on ladies...use a little common sense, there are young men in the classes with raging hormones going wild....... duh, guess common sense and professionalism do not exist in this county school system except for the board and the parents that started complaining.