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Dress for Success

By Theresachristine Etim

According to the Parent/Student Handbook on the Hays CISD website, the philosophy behind having a dress code is to “teach grooming and hygiene, instill discipline, prevent disruption, avoid safety hazards and teach respect for authority.”

The dress code has evolved quite a bit in the past few decades to keep up with fashion, comfort and societal norms. From the ’50s to early ’90s, students weren’t allowed to wear shorts or have facial hair. But facial hair is more mainstream and, in more recent years, even piercings on male students have become acceptable within the dress code, but gauges and other facial piercings are still not allowed. 

While several campuses have slightly different dress codes, there are a few rules that all the schools have in common (see sidebar).

In some instances students can be seen riding the edge of what’s acceptable per the code, but as Hays CISD’s Public Information Officer Tim Savoy says, the code maintains students’ freedoms while respecting policies, although campuses can make adjustments.

“Each campus can make adjustments so long as they don’t infringe on a student’s Constitutionally and court precedent recognized freedom of expression or religion,” Savoy said. “The codes vary based on age-appropriate, acceptable standards.”

But something the district tries to avoid is giving students detention for violation of dress code, as the district wants the students to stay in class.

 Hays CISD schools handle dress code violations by having parents bring clothes to the school, or borrowing clothes the school has on hand.

Out of all the campuses in the Hays CISD, one school – Simon Middle School – has uniforms.


Hays CISD Dress Code policy:

Shorts and Skirts

The basic rule for shorts and skirts is that they must be no shorter than the tip of the middle finger when the student’s arms are down and fingers extended. And according to the handbook, shorts, skirts and pants cannot be “sagging” or “bagging ” and should fit around the waist and no lower.


Tight fitting pants are not permitted (ex: tights, Spandex or bicycle pants). Excessive holes and fraying are not permitted and pajama pants also are not allowed.


The district prohibits shirts or tops that have “lewd, vulgar or obscene” emblems or messages on them as well as emblems or messages that depict alcohol or tobacco products or drugs or any other illegal substances. Tops should be long enough so no midriff can be seen while the students’ arms are by his or her sides. Tops that are not permitted are: tank tops, muscle shirts, spaghetti straps, shirts with the back exposed or any other see-through garments.

Hats and Hoodies

Hats, hoodies or any other head coverings are not permitted inside the school buildings during school hours. Hoodies are permitted to be worn outside for warmth, but must be removed when entering the building.


Appropriate footwear must be worn at all times. Flip-flops are allowed but must be worn at all times. Footwear with reinforced steel, wheels or house shoes are not permitted.


Extreme hairstyles are not permitted, nor is unconventional or unnatural colored hair. Students are not permitted to shave initials, numbers or other symbols into their hairstyles. Facial hair is allowed but must be neatly trimmed and a natural color.


Students may wear piercings in their ears, and small nose studs or small hoops are allowed, however septum piercings and gauges are not.


Above is a shortened explanation of dress code taken from the Parent/Student Handbook available at

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