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.
“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.