No more PJs? Changes may be coming to Fairfax Co. schools dress code

Changes may be coming to Fairfax County Public Schools’ dress code, including one that would prohibit students from wearing pajamas or sleepwear to class.

As part of proposed changes to its Students Rights and Responsibilities handbook, students also wouldn’t be allowed to wear jackets with hoods up during class time or in the time in the hallways between classes.

The county reviews the comprehensive guide, SR&R for short, every year. In a Zoom meeting with the school community about the proposed changes last week, Michelle Boyd, assistant superintendent for special services, said notable changes span several topics: dress code, substance misuse, harassment, hazing and bullying.

Part of the drafted dress code includes a line that explains clothes that can’t be worn to school include “pajamas or sleepwear, unless worn during Spirit Week or pajama day.”

However, it doesn’t elaborate on what the school system considers to be pajamas or sleepwear. The county’s current dress code doesn’t mention pajamas by name.

“Right now, our language and communication may not be as clear, but pajama bottoms are pajama bottoms,” Boyd said during the session. “If it’s clearly pajama bottoms, pajamas are prohibited, except for on Spirit Day. It’s going to be incumbent upon us to have communication both with our students and our families in advance.”

The current dress code says students who don’t comply could be removed from class or receive disciplinary action.

Proposed changes also include further descriptions of inappropriate attire. It lists examples of prohibited clothing as things that “expose underwear or undergarments” or “depict or promote the unlawful possession or use of weapons, alcohol, tobacco, drugs [or] drug paraphernalia, or other controlled substances.”

With regard to substance misuse, a proposed change would require parental/guardian consent for a student’s participation in an intervention program. Students are required to participate in the program for a first violation relating to alcohol, marijuana or inhalants.

Other changes under consideration include a more specific definition of discriminatory harassment, and making hazing a Level 5 infraction in accordance with state regulations.

The proposed changes also account for Virginia General Assembly legislation that requires principals to tell a student’s parent or guardian that the student had been involved in an alleged bullying incident within 24 hours of learning of the allegation.

Revisions to cellphone policies would also list items such as AirPods, earbuds and headsets among the ones that need to be silenced and put away when students aren’t allowed to use their phones.

The proposed changes to the SR&R are scheduled to be voted on in May.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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