Provo school board approves student board members, talks dress codes
The Provo City School District approved several items at its public business meeting Tuesday, including a new dress code that will be universal across the district, adding student positions to the board and the terms of a settlement with e-cigarette company Juul.
Student board members
At an earlier business meeting this year, a few high school students requested student members to be added to the board. At Tuesday’s meeting, a vote was taken to approve the policy and procedures for two student members to be added to the board, one from Timpview High School and one from Provo High School. Independence High School students may also apply for whichever position they live in the boundaries for.
“Basically, what the student (board members) would do is really help us to understand what students would like to see. They’ll get to have input, they’ll be able to come to meetings, they’ll be the liaison between the school board and the students. They are very aware that it’s a nonvoting position. I feel that this is very valuable for the board and I also think it’s a very valuable experience for our students to be able to participate in the governance process,” board member Gina Hales said.
Applications for the student board member positions opened on Wednesday and are due by May 1. The finalists will then be interviewed, and those selected for the position will know by May 15. The student member terms will run from July 1 to June 30, 2024.
The policy passed unanimously. The motion to approve this item was made by board member Megan Van Wagenen and seconded by Hales.
As a result of varying dress codes in schools across the district, a policy committee came together to create an updated, universal dress code that will be used in every PCSD school.
Todd McKee, assistant superintendent over secondary education, and Alex Judd, assistant superintendent over elementary education, gave a presentation on the draft of the new dress code in the study session of the meeting.
“There’s a lot that’s been written about the schools and dress code in the last couple of years. It was surprising to me how much has been written across the country. This is a big topic, that much is clear. Yes, schools can enforce the dress code; it’s typically under the guise of ensuring that there’s not a disruption to the learning environment. … Guidance from the Department of Education (states) that dress codes should not be gender specific. Under the new interpretations of Title IX, if your dress codes are targeting a specific gender, then they may be in violation of the law,” McKee said.
The draft states, “All students must wear clothing that is appropriate for the setting and activity. Undergarments must be covered at all times. See-through or mesh garments must be worn with appropriate coverage underneath. Any illegal, threatening, profane, or lewd content will not be allowed. For example, images or language that contain (anything related to): gangs, weapons (as defined in Utah Code 76-10-501), illicit drugs or alcohol, sexual content, violence, discrimination, or profanity.”
“I feel like this gives the administrators onsite the ability to do what they need to do, because like you said, what’s appropriate in elementary school may not be appropriate somewhere else,” Hales said.
The draft will be finished soon and put to a vote at a later board meeting.
Due to the board being legally unable to share the terms of the settlement, there was no discussion prior to the vote. The motion, made by Hales and seconded by board member Lisa Boyce, passed unanimously.