SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Springfield School District has a dress code for students who are doing remote learning. There’s one specific rule that has made some parents upset.

The handbook says kids are not allowed to wear pajamas while doing classes online at home. Some parents are angry saying the district shouldn’t be telling them what they can’t do in their own homes.

Elizabeth Ballinger says, “I made the decision for my kids to be at home and I don’t really see how any district can come in and say what my kid can’t wear in my house. I don’t think they have any right to say what happens in my house. I think they have enough to worry about as opposed to what the kids are wearing. They need to make sure they’re getting educated.”

This is the strong opinion many parents shared when they learned about about the school district’s decision to implement this rule. Another parent commented online saying “They get good grades so worry about teaching not clothes. As long as they are covered up who cares?”

But other parents supported the district online saying “It makes sense, it’s just a little bit of respect to show up clean and ready for class.”

The Springfield Education Association president also had an opinion about it. Aaron Graves says, “In truth, the whole pajama thing is really at the bottom of our priority scale when it comes to public education.” He says the teachers have more important things to focus on, like making sure the students get a comprehensive education during the pandemic. “We really want to see kids coming to the table of education whether it’s at the kitchen table with the laptop there or whether it’s the actual brick and mortar school house. Raising the bar for all kids and helping them get there, whether their in their pajamas or tuxedo is really what’s important.”

When asked how the district administration plans to enforce this, they replied with this statement.

“The policy will be addressed on an individual basis through the Restorative/Discipline Options for Classroom Managed Behaviors as outlined in the handbook (see excerpt below). Generally speaking, there are no definitive one-to-one consequences outlined in our handbook for any disciplinary reason. Incidents of misconduct and subsequent consequences are treated on an individual basis.”

Restorative/Discipline Options for Classroom Managed Behaviors

● Conference/Processing with student

● Behavioral contract/student plans

● Restorative Practices (Circles, Skills-based coaching, etc.)

● Restitution or Contribution

● Consequences as stipulated in the approved Classroom Management Plan

● Detention

● Parental contact (all contacts should be documented using the parent

communication log on the infosystem)

● Time out

● Verbal reprimand

● Withdrawal of privileges

Bree Hankins
Springfield School District Public Relations

The school district’s full disciplinary code can be found in the student handbook.

In a statement sent to WCIA on Friday, district officials said their remote learning expectations reference their regular District dress code. “There is no distinct dress code for remote learning.” They said their hope is that students will approach remote learning as they would a classroom setting. However, they said they understand interpretations of the dress code will be different in remote learning. “It is understandable that during remote learning our dress code will be flexible.”

We do not intend to be punitive or to prescribe what students wear at home during remote learning, especially in this period of uncertainty and adjustment for students, families and staff. If there is a specific concern as it relates to dress code, we will address it individually with the student and their family.

Bree Hankins,
Springfield School District Public Relations