Religion Sparks Dress Code Discussion At Arts School

Posted: September 11, 2013 at 3:49 a.m.

A student’s request for a religious exception to dress code stalled in a discussion between religion and expression at the Benton County School of the Arts board meeting Tuesday night.

At A Glance

School Handbook

Behavior standards from the Benton County School of the Arts handbook state that dress can be a matter of personal taste, but it is administrators’ responsibility to create a healthy learning environment. Dress and grooming isn't allowed to be “immodest, disruptive, unsanitary, unsafe, could case property damage, or are offensive to common standards of decency.”

Dress guidelines:

• Hair must be neat and the style not distracting

• Hair must be a natural human hair color

• Shorts, allowed only at the elementary/middle school, must reach 3 inches above the knee

• No pajamas

• Street shoes are required

• Visible body piercings, except ears, are forbidden

• Hats and headgear are forbidden unless there is a religious or medical exception

• No sunglasses are allowed inside the building

• No dangerous accessories, such as spikes or chains, are allowed

• Lewd and suggestive slogans or clothing advertising alcohol, tobacco and drugs are forbidden

• Clothing associated with gangs is forbidden.

Source: Staff Report

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It seems almost unbelievable that an 'arts' school would be concerned with a child's self-expression in the color of hair!

I am glad my daughter and son-in-law pulled their daughter out of that 'arts' school and she is now doing extremely well back in a Rogers' public school.

From my observation it appears that the problems in the BCSA are systemic and considerable. BCSA does not seem very conducive to the kind of freedom of thought and expression necessary for the world of the arts to be experienced by children.

Posted by: Jim_Huffman

September 11, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Freedom of religious expression. That is what the US was founded on! Way to go Abigail!

Posted by: Mom2adiva

September 12, 2013 at 2:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

This girl made a mistake by not pointing out the school does not enforce the other school dress codes. Shorts and dresses are higher than 3 inches above the knee and ear piercings are definitely not the only visible piercings in those schools.

The school just can't decide to ignore parts of the code and enforce others arbitrarily.

Contrary to popular belief, you do give up freedom of speech in schools. The argument that this is freedom of religion is nonsense. She's got them because they are not applying the standard evenly.

Posted by: NWAChamps

September 12, 2013 at 6:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The schools might want to realize the only reason the hair is a big deal is they make it a big deal. A kid shows up with bright orange hair. Day One the students say wow. Day two no one cares.

Posted by: NWAChamps

September 12, 2013 at 6:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Just remember:

For a little while.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 12, 2013 at 10:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I actually like that graphic.

Posted by: P5harri

September 12, 2013 at 10:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )