Chatsworth : Dress Code Proposal Sent Back to Panel

A proposal to expand the student dress code at Chatsworth High School was stalled at a campus meeting Tuesday night and sent back to a committee of parents, students and faculty for further work.

"I think what some parents want to do is make the school enforce rules that [parents] can't enforce at home," said Ed Burke, the faculty's union representative, who defended the existing code.

Under the three-point policy, students are forbidden to wear hats backward and clothing deemed "gang-related" or "sexually suggestive" or that promotes use of drugs and alcohol.

Diana Dixon Davis, a parent representative of Chatsworth High's school-based management council, said she is disappointed that a more specific "appropriate dress" code banning items such as baggy pants, bandannas and hairnets was rejected at Tuesday's meeting.

"They don't accept the premise that by reducing the visibility of gangs, they reduce the climate of violence in the school," she said, adding that a revised draft will probably be introduced at the council's February meeting.

"It's going to be a nasty fight," she vowed.

Acknowledging "considerable diversity of opinion" on the subject, council member Peter Haskell said he supports the idea of a dress code, but expressed concern about its enforcement.

"I think the teacher's main responsibility is to educate, not to be a policeman," he said.

Haskell admitted that the current guidelines are "fairly relaxed" but concurred with Burke that the campus doesn't have a large problem with students dressed inappropriately.

"Clothes don't hurt people," he said.

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