Chatsworth : School Adopts Strict Clothing Guidelines

Ending months of debate on the role that clothing plays in an educational environment, Chatsworth High School adopted a modified dress code last week that zeros in on baggy pants, halter tops and gang symbols.

Unveiled Monday night at a PTA meeting, the revised rules expand upon the school's 5-year-old code to list examples of forbidden items, such as "excessively" baggy pants, "dangerously long or heavy" wallet or belt chains, hairnets, halter tops, see-through clothing, and any item that "depicts words, symbols or images that degrade or incite any culture, gender, religion or ethnicity."

Also banned are items that memorialize dead friends, such as T-shirts decorated with phrases like "R.I.P." and "In Memory Of . . ."

The previous code, adopted in 1990, forbade students only from wearing "gang-related" and "sexually suggestive" clothing and items that "promote drugs or alcohol."

"Basically, everyone tried to compromise," said Diana Dixon Davis, a parent representative on Chatsworth High's school-based management council, which approved the new guidelines at its March 5 meeting.

"What we've ended up with are the major items," Davis said, noting that the revised code goes further in describing the items forbidden under the "gang clothing" and "sexually suggestive" categories. The code will take effect at the start of the 1996-97 school year, she added.

Students who violate the dress standards policy will be asked to remove the offending item, the code states. Further violations can result in notification of the student's parents and suspension.

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