Sizing up dress codes

Hazel addresses dance attire for Cd’A schools

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COEUR d'ALENE — Shoulders have been shown before at Coeur d'Alene School District dances, and Board of Trustees Chair Christa Hazel wants to make sure dress code policy reflects that.

During a regular meeting of the board on Monday night, Hazel introduced a proposed change to the district's dress code regarding what types of dresses girls can wear to dances. She told The Press Tuesday that the decision to push for the change was due in part to discussing the current policy with several parents, as well as her understanding of what types of dresses are available to students.

"It's an appropriate, measured, response," Hazel said. "We just thought we should clear things up and make it easier for families and students so we can have consistent rules and consistent interpretation while supporting our students in having a fun time during a social occasion."

The proposed amendment would add the following to the section of student dress code entitled "Temporary Exceptions":

"For formal/semi-formal events, dresses with spaghetti straps and/or strapless dresses shall be allowed while remaining policy provisions (see supra) will be enforced."

Finding a dress for a formal or semi-formal dance that adheres to the district's existing dress code policy during school hours, which requires shoulder straps to be greater than 2.5 inches wide, would be difficult, Hazel said.

"In addition to that, a lot of dresses are strapless or have spaghetti straps," she added. "Often times those dresses are donated, or they're passed around. So if you're a person with limited means, your selection is even less in secondhand stores or when you borrow from a friend."

As an example of how dresses tend to be used by multiple people over the course of the years, the board chair recalled a dress she wore to a district dance in 1991. She was the third girl to wear the dress, and Hazel said there were a few others who wore it after she did.

"In the last couple of years, it got donated back into the community," Hazel said. "One of my friends had it, and she just recently donated it — that's just the kind of the life cycle of formal dresses."

Hazel added that the board will likely vote on the proposed amendment during its meeting in November. In the meantime, she encouraged the community to look at the district's dress code policy, with the proposed revision, and direct any opinions on it to board clerk Lynn Towne, who can be reached by email at

"It's my hope that anybody who is interested in this topic will let us know their thoughts," Hazel said. "Any comments that people have about our dress policy — if it's too strict, too revealing — any comments or opinions at all will certainly be taken into consideration.”

A complete version of the district's student dress code policy, with the amendment in red text, can be found at

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