The V.I. Board of Training has codified new gown code uniform tips for public colleges meant to be gender impartial, in what board chairman Dr. Kyza Callwood described to the Consortium because the U.S. Virgin Islands coming in keeping with broader developments on the U.S. mainland relative to the rights of people.
Talking throughout a telephone interview Wednesday night, Mr. Callwood careworn that adjustments to the B.O.E.’s Costume Code Uniform Pointers weren’t made in a vacuum.
“We met with the Division of Training and a number of other directors and we got here up with the coverage. We additionally despatched it out to the division for them to work by means of it. They added a few of their adjustments earlier than the board permitted it. So this isn’t one thing that the board simply did arbitrarily in closed and secret conferences,” he stated.
The necessity for a gown code coverage replace arose from mother and father who had issues with their lady youngsters not with the ability to put on pants at sure public colleges, in accordance with Mr. Callwood. He stated that years in the past women wore pants at college, “however someplace down the road, relying on who was the superintendent on the time, various things, principals, guidelines modified, however that is the place that happened.”
That portion of the brand new gown code touched a nerve with some members of the neighborhood, in accordance with Mr. Callwood, who stated residents have been calling radio stations blaming him for the replace.
Even so, the chairman sees the replace as not solely vital however vital, saying that lawsuits might have been introduced towards the board for what Mr. Callwood deemed an outdated coverage.
“It had court docket circumstances the place colleges needed to make their insurance policies gender impartial the place you possibly can’t violate and maintain youngsters hostage,” he stated. “It’s important to enable free expression as soon as it is in a means that’s skilled, presentable and do not create disruption. Our [previous] coverage did not try this as a result of bear in mind they had been created years in the past. So we’ve to come back now into the twenty first Century the place the coverage must be gender impartial.”
Mr. Callwood careworn that whereas the coverage makes provision to permit for a boy to put on a skirt if he so chooses, the college administration has some leeway and a call could be primarily based on whether or not a skirt on a boy results in opposed outcomes on the college in query.
The up to date coverage additionally permits boys to put on two earrings. “If I am a mum or dad I might take the board to court docket that you just allowed women to put on earrings and I am a boy and I am unable to put on no earrings,” Mr. Callwood stated.
Relative to ladies’ selection to decide on both a skirt or pants within the new coverage, Mr. Callwood stated some women don’t love sporting skirts as a result of generally wind blows and lifts the skirts, resulting in undesirable publicity. “Carrying pants, it permits you to not must take care of that. However in fact it additionally has provisions in there that the pants cannot be fitted, it may well’t be tight, you possibly can’t put on no leggings, you possibly can’t put on no denims. The sneakers must be both mild or dark-colored, you understand, various things within the coverage,” the B.O.E. chairman defined.
“The aim is to actually educate our college students — to not maintain them hostage as a result of they need to put on a sequence, they need to put on an earring, they need to put on a inexperienced watch, they need to put on inexperienced glasses and [a school is] making an attempt to carry them again from getting an schooling due to that. We won’t enable that,” he stated.
Mr. Callwood additionally highlighted youngsters with tattoos, saying these too are acceptable so long as there isn’t any disruption to the college. “You possibly can have your tattoo nevertheless it must be coated,” he stated. “I do not should be in English class and I might see what tattoo is in your hand with a sunflower. That creates disruption. So it must be coated; no one must you understand you might have a tattoo — it isn’t vital within the college [setting].
To assuage issues on the matter of boys sporting skirts, Mr. Callwood acknowledged, “We all know in our neighborhood males do not put on skirts, in order that’s one thing recognized.”
He added, “We had no circumstances in St. Thomas the place any male needed to put on any skirt to high school. We now have no circumstances with that, so all of the males will likely be coming to high school in a pants.”
Different causes for the replace embody a latest legislation referred to as the Crown Act whose aim is to finish hair discrimination within the territory.
What Mr. Callwood known as the Digital Studying Coverage additionally influenced adjustments to the gown code. “At one level they did not enable cellphones in colleges, however since Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory did the Distance Studying Coverage, it allowed for these issues as a result of Covid got here and college students needed to work at home, a few of them do not have computer systems they usually had to make use of their telephones.
“Even with earbuds, you are allowed to have earbuds however you possibly can’t put on them within the cafeterias and another locations you possibly can’t use them. You possibly can use them in school if it’s good to use them primarily based on a selected instruction the place the laptop computer is in entrance of them, to verify they do not interrupt,” Mr. Callwood stated. Watches that make the most of cellphones are additionally allowed for sure tutorial functions, he stated.
Mr. Callwood stated neighborhood members can petition the board if there are adjustments they disagree with. “Something with any coverage may be modified at anytime. No coverage is about in stone. If neighborhood folks really feel that we should not have this within the coverage or that within the coverage, then we’ve the chance to jot down the board or petition the board to make adjustments the place they see match,” he stated.