By Ryan Lengerich
A Clovis High School teacher is unhappy about a new policy that prohibits her from wearing blue jeans to class. But Carol Singletary said the issue is not just a dress-code debate with school superintendent Neil Nuttall.
“The issue isn’t about jeans, it is about morale and the chain of command being ignored,” she said. “Now it is a control issue.”
Clovis school teachers have been banned from wearing blue denim to work since December. Nuttall said the “administrative directive” from his office followed a school-board discussion concerning dress code.
Singletary, a journalism teacher, said that directive prevents teachers from having a voice in the decision and has forced some teachers to purchase a new wardrobe.
“For the ag teachers, blue jeans are almost a requirement,” she said.
Board of education member Mark Lansford said he’s received several calls from teachers concerned about the code.
“It seems to me like it didn’t set well,” Lansford said. “I think one prevalent reason is that (the teachers) feel like they were left out of the process.”
Lansford said he tried to have the issue placed on Tuesday’s school board agenda, but that Nuttall would not allow it.
“Am I disappointed? Yes,” Lansford said. “Am I surprised? No.”
Lansford said he is working to change the process for having items placed on the school-board agenda.
“Any board member should be able to get an item on the agenda,” he said. “We are not allowed to represent our constituency unless that happens.”
Nuttall said the dress-code issue has been raised several times in recent years. The decision to leave the blue jeans discussion off of Tuesday’s agenda was made because the issue has been turned over to a policy committee for consideration, he said.
The policy committee consists of about 30 representatives from various positions and schools in the Clovis district. Committee members were elected by teachers and staff.
Nuttall said the policy committee may work through the issue and present a plan to him, which he would then present to the board. In the meantime, he said those concerned about the situation should work through the system.
“If they really care about having their voice heard, they need to get with their representative,” he said. “I don’t know that it gets any more fair than having a representative from various schools to make a recommendation to me.”
Singletary said teachers plan to attend Tuesday’s meeting to voice opinions about the dress code, despite its being left off of the agenda.