By Sue Kiesewetter
FAIRFIELD - Don't dye your hair purple, blue or green and expect to spend the day in a Fairfield classroom.
Changes approved this week in the Fairfield Schools' year-old dress code stipulate that students' hair color should be a natural tone. Extreme colors won't be tolerated.
It was one of four changes approved by the school board Thursday to make the code more specific and less open to interpretation.
"This is something we have spent an inordinate amount of time on. All we're trying to do is make sure they're (students) dressed appropriately for learning," said Anne Crone, board president.
The revised dress code also prohibits visible body, facial or tongue piercings with the exception of ears - and those can't be distracting. On the topic of shorts or "skorts," the dress code now stipulates mid-thigh as the appropriate length.
"The intention behind these changes is to reflect more consistency," said Superintendent Robert Farrell. "There could be some really distracting piece someone could put in their ear - I can't even imagine what."
The code also prohibits excessive, extreme or distracting makeup.
The new dress code - that had parent, teacher, community and administrative input - went into effect at the start of the 2002-'03 school year with the understanding it would be reviewed later. This spring, parents, students and staff had an opportunity to respond to an unscientific survey about the dress code.
One student said it was better than the old code, but predicted some students would test it.
"It's better than it was,'' said senior Tara Isaac, 17. "I don't think you'll ever be able to get rid of it totally. It will always be there."
Tara said enforcement of the dress code was stringent at the beginning of the school year, but as the year progressed, enforcement became less of a priority.
Crone said the board expected the revised code to be enforced consistently across the board from the youngest to oldest students.
"We're not trying to take away anybody's individuality," Crone said. "The board isn't trying to infringe on (students') rights. All we're trying to do is make sure they're dressed ready to learn."
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