The Vernon Board of Education moved to further discuss the creation and implementation of a dress code for faculty after some members expressed their disapproval of some staff attire in the hallways.
“It's frustrating to me to walk into the high school, and be walking down the hall and seeing people and not realizing that they are teachers, because they are dressed as casually as the students,” said BOE Chairman Dean Houle. “That's not what I expect to see when I go in there, as far as being able to identify who's who.”
Superintendent Mary Conway said she had spoken with the board's attorney, who said the board has the right to put forth a policy, but that it would be a “bargainable issue” with the teachers' union, which she said could argue the specifics of the dress code and/or the potential that teachers would be required to spend their own money on new clothing.
Board member Michele Arn said that, as part of the policy committee, she looked into policies of other boards of education and the recommendations of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE). “The language is all extremely nebulous, because they are aware of the ramifications,” Arn said of CABE's suggested verbage.
After entertaining the motion to send the matter to the policy committee, Houle said the intent would be for the committee to create a policy, which the board would then vote on, but he added that a social networking policy proposed last year was presented and then quashed by the board. “The board wasn't ready for that policy,” Houle said. “This could be as hot an issue as that type of a policy. I know, personally, I'm interested in seeing us have a dress code policy. Those teachers in the classroom are role models, and what they project is what kids see.”