Omaha Public Schools, Ralston and Bennington students head back to class Wednesday and students are putting on brand new clothes, but many of the latest fashion trends are dress code violations.
Crop tops and short shorts are a no-no for girls in Ralston as are spaghetti straps, tank tops and halter tops. They are allowed if a cardigan goes over them or a shirt goes underneath. For boys, wearing a hat in school is not allowed.
Graphic T-shirts with vulgar language, sexual innuendos or anything related to alcohol or drugs are also out. Also, baggy, sagging pants. Students may be asked to wear a t-shift over top of their outfits if they violate the dress code, or to put on their gym clothes. If it happens often enough a parent may be called in to bring a different outfit.
Assistant principal Tiffany Welte tells WOWT 6 News dressing appropriately for school sets a precedent for students who will enter the work force later. “Ninety-nine percent of the time the outfit is just absolutely adorable and if it were my student and if it were an outside of school activity I wouldn't have any problem with the student wearing what they're wearing. It's just this particular setting. We're here for learning."
The dress code remains the same at other metro school districts, but all of them say the bottom line is moderation.
Another school rule to consider: truancy. Everyone wants to start the school year off right and it starts with getting there and being on time. The Omaha Education Association says signs of truancy can emerge in the first month and the reasons vary.
Parents work multiple jobs and can't get their kids to school on time. Families are in between homes with no permanent residence. A student may be chronically ill and spends a lot of time in the hospital.
The key is to communicate with administrators about what is going on at home to get help when needed. If not, missing days of school can cause student to fall behind academically and they will constantly try to play catch up. Students can also face disciplinary action from their school, including exclusion from class or their parents could be called in to speak with administrators.
Nebraska law states that if students miss 20 days or more days of unexcused absences it has to be reported to the county attorney.
The Omaha Education Association wants to tackle truancy before it becomes a problem.
“We've developed some programs in the district to really address how we're going to work with those families early so if we do some of those things coming up quickly that we aren't waiting for it to become so large that it's too big of a problem to tackle,” says OEA president Chris Proulx.
Proulx says if you suspect your child is skipping school, ask them specific questions about what they are learning in class or contact an administrator to get help.