Site based council flip-flops after getting earful from public on pajama pants
Anderson County High School’s site based decision making council reversed course Monday by banning students from wearing pajama pants just weeks after allowing them.
Principal Chris Glass made the motion, which was seconded by history teacher Corey Sayre and approved unanimously by the council.
The council also banned students from wearing scrubs, with the exception of those who need to wear them for work- or study-related purposes, but kept changes to the dress code that allows yoga and stretch pants.
The decision followed a series of negative comments from the small audience of residents, parents and teachers.
“I think it’s offensive,” said resident Victor Brown, adding that children should put clothes on before they leave the house.
“It shows a lack of respect,” he said.
A teacher added that faculty members “felt mislead,” because a staff survey that preceded the decision never mentioned pajama pants.
A parent questioned allowing yoga and other tight-fitting pants, saying teenage boys with their “hormones raging” are going to look at girls wearing those types of pants.
Sayre and Glass initially defended the decision to allow pajama pants on a trial basis before voting to ban them.
“I don’t think it was put out there very well,” said Glass, adding that only “three to five” students wore them each day.
Sayre said repeatedly the conversation that preceded the decision to allow pajama pants on a trial basis lasted “only 30 seconds” before later admitting to the audience that it was indeed longer and that he was using the length of the discussion as “hyperbole.”
The decision to allow pajama pants drew attention to the district statewide and nationally, including a story that appeared on the website for Seventeen magazine, which lauded the decision.
Council members said they were surprised at the response and insisted they weren’t trying to promote the issue. Instead, they said they were trying to allow students to be more comfortable in hopes that attendance rates would improve.
“This is not a pajama bottom conspiracy,” Sayre said. “We are not the pajama bottom illuminati spreading flannel around the world.”
“It’s not like I have a poster in my classroom saying please wear pajama pants,” added teacher Lauren Vasser.
Parent representative Kathy Lilly said it was a shame that the issue was reported as allowing students to wear pajama pants, adding that if it had been reported as “flannel” pants, it wouldn’t have been such an issue.
Glass also addressed a question about how many students were being singled out for violating changes to the dress code. He said on the first day 40 to 45 students were out of compliance, followed by 14 on days two and three. Now, he said, there are just a few each day, which is normal.
Along with the ban, the council also loosened up the requirement for the shirts that have to be worn by students wearing yoga and stretch pants. While the shirts must still cover students from the front and back, they can now be cut up the sides.
Glass also responded to a question from a parent who asked about what she called a recent “drug raid” in the school.
Glass said there was no raid. He said the school routinely invites in law enforcement and K-9 units to sweep the school for drugs, and that drugs are sometimes found.
“We don’t want them in our school,” Glass said.
By Ben Carlson
The Anderson News