Most Avoyelles Parish schools to require see-through backpacks

There are only a few changes to the dress code for the Avoyelles Parish School District, but one is likely to rile some parents while the other may be seen as a relief.

First, the big news.

Seven schools will require clear or mesh backpacks -- Avoyelles and Marksville high schools and Bunkie, Cottonport, Marksville, Plaucheville and Riverside elementaries.

That means your son’s Thomas the Train backpack and your daughter’s Disney Princess backpack will have to be retired.

The requirement is part of an increased concern for school security.

LaSAS has never allowed backpacks, requiring its students to use binders, Child Welfare & Attendance Supervisor Jennifer Dismer said. Bunkie Magnet High and Lafargue Elementary have opted not to require see-through backpacks for their students.

While this change may force parents to add another item to their children’s back-to-school list, another change may remove a possible style issue. This year, slacks and shorts may have “inside or outside pockets, and must be hemmed,” Dismer said.

“Outside” pockets are like those on jeans, where the pocket is sewn onto the pants. “Inside” pockets are like most slacks pockets, “where all you see is the slit of the pocket,” she explained.

The reason for this change is due to “some slacks being sold with outside pockets,” Dismer said.

The dress code still prohibits jeans, riveted pockets, cargo pockets and watch pockets.

A “very minor” change in the policy is a decision to allow students to wear headbands that are no more than 1 1/2 inches wide. This is an exception to the “headgear” ban that includes scarves, sweatbands, active wear caps and night caps for hair. The dress code includes instructions on the color of shirts and pants allowed in the school uniforms.

One provision that has historically raised questions and objections is the ban on jeans and any other pants that have rivets, except on designated days awarded for positive behavior and/or achievement.

Jeggings, leggings and stretch pants are not allowed.

Another requirement almost certain to generate a few comments each year is the ban on jackets such as trench coats, dusters, knee-length starter jackets and jackets with hoods.

No hoodies are allowed in grades 7-12.

Other major requirements of the dress code include:

-- Pants with belt loops require a belt to be worn in grades above kindergarten. Belts cannot have logos and must be completely within the loops with no part hanging.

-- Shirts and blouses must be tucked in and have sleeves and collars.

-- Sagging pants are not allowed.

-- Socks or hose are required with all footwear. Shoes must be worn at all times. Beach shoes, shower clogs, rafting sandals, steel-toed footwear, Crocs and slippers are not allowed.

-- Students transferring in from other schools or school districts will have five days to obtain clothing that complies with their new school’s dress code requirements.

-- No visible, vulgar, suggestive, obscene or gang-related tattoos are allowed.

-- Earrings, studs and pins may be worn only in the ear.

-- No vests are allowed.

-- Neck ornaments and jewelry must be worn inside the collar, shirt or blouse. No chains are allowed.

-- Hair must be a “naturally occurring hair color,” whether it is natural or dyed. Wigs are not allowed, except for medical reasons.

-- Boys may have facial hair, but it must be neat and well-groomed.

-- Students in grades K-2 can wear shorts that are mid-thigh length. Students in grades 3-12 can wear shorts no shorter than two inches from the floor when measured in a kneeling position. Shorts must be hemmed. Biker shorts are not permitted for any student.

-- Dress/skirt length requirements are the same as for shorts.


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