Committee opposes teachers in blue jeans

Ryan Lengerich

The verdict is in: A Clovis schools’ policy committee has recommended teachers not wear blue jeans to class.
The committee made its recommendation to the school board on Tuesday night.
“The policy committee did not favor wearing blue jeans every day and the principals, along with (Superintendent) Dr. (Neil) Nuttall, also did not favor wearing blue jeans,” said Jim McDaniel, policy committee chairperson and assistant superintendent for personnel.
Principals and the committee, McDaniel said, agreed alternative color jeans are suitable.
“The discussion, I think, was that typical people who wear other color jeans tend to wear them not the same way they wear blue jeans,” McDaniel said. “My understanding from the discussion was that other jeans are dressier than blue jeans.”
The staff dress code issue was brought to the forefront in December when Nuttall issued an administrative directive preventing teachers from wearing blue denim at work. In January, a Clovis High School teacher voiced concern about the directive and how it was imposed.
Board member Mark Lansford requested the issue appear on previous meeting agendas, but that request was denied. Nuttall said the item had been passed to the policy committee for review. On Tuesday, the committee proposed a policy for discussion.
The proposal reads that, “…all staff members must dress appropriately and professionally, as directed by their immediate supervisor and approved by the superintendent.”
McDaniel said a district-wide staff survey of the more than 700 staff members showed more than 70 percent polled favored a “general policy” to a “specific policy,” leaving the dress code enforcement in principals’ and, ultimately, Nuttall’s hands.
The committee’s “general policy” proposal will be discussed for the next two weeks and is scheduled for a vote at the March 9 board meeting.
Nuttall said it was clear a majority of staff did not support blue jeans.
“I was encouraged by that. After being here for seven years I thought I had the pulse of our professional educators,” Nuttall said. “They just said we would like to make these professional recommendations for you to include in your administrative guidelines, so that we can have some consistency.”
Lansford said he had received calls from teachers opposing the blue-jeans rule and claiming they were not represented properly in the process. He said the policy committee’s recommendation was a step in the right direction.
“I am happy with the procedure and how the policy committee did their job,” Lansford said. “The no-blue-jeans administrative directive — (teachers) didn’t feel part of the process, now they are part of the process, but I haven’t had much feedback on whether this will satisfy the masses.”
McDaniel said the policy committee was split on whether ag and shop teachers could wear blue jeans. Nuttall said he will meet with those teachers and principals to discuss that issue.
On an icy night, only six people were in the audience and none asked questions about the dress-code issue.