Expectations for Dress at T.C.
T.C. Williams High School expects that all students will dress appropriately for the school day and for any school-sponsored event. This document has been developed to support students in making attire choices while fostering a community that includes a diverse range of identities. The primary responsibility for a student’s attire resides with the student and their parent(s) or guardian(s).
The vision of T.C. Williams High School is to provide dress expectations that promote decision making and equity in our learning environments. Appropriate attire can build character, promote school pride, and prepare students for life beyond high school. Therefore, the dress expectations are designed to help students make thoughtful choices in dressing appropriately for school and other activities. To promote equity for all students, the following guidelines have been created:
- school staff should be trained to use, and should use, student/body-positive language to explain dress expectations and address violations.
- students should positively represent our school and promote a positive, dignified image to the community while they are on or off campus.
- enforcement of student dress expectations should not result in unnecessary barriers to school attendance.
- school staff should maintain a safe learning environment for all students.
- students should feel confident entering various learning environments, including those for career readiness courses.
- students should be treated equitably regardless of race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size.
Our dress expectations will
- ensure fairness, consistency, and equitable treatment for all students.
- assist students in developing pride, unity, and self-respect.
- support school staff in maintaining an effective educational environment focused on learning.
- prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories with offensive images or language, including profanity, hate speech, or pornography.
- prevent students from wearing clothing or accessories that reasonably can be construed as containing content that is racist, lewd, vulgar, obscene, threatening, violent, or related to criminal activity.
Section 1. Basic Principle: Certain body parts must be covered for all students at all times.
Clothes must fully cover* private areas, buttocks, midriff, and chest with fabric. General guideline: the torso must be covered from “armpits to fingertips.” All items listed in the “must wear” and “may wear” categories below must meet this basic principle. Undergarments may not be the only cover over these areas.
*Mesh, ripped, or see-through material is not acceptable “cover.”
Section 2. Students Must Wear the Following:
- Shirt, blouse, or equivalent (with straps/sleeves and fabric in the front, back, and on the sides under the arms)
- Skirt, pants, or equivalent (such as jeans, sweatpants, thick leggings, a dress, or shorts)
- Shoes (including sandals, loafers, and tennis shoes or sneakers)
Section 3. Students May Wear the Following provided these items do not violate Sections 1 or 4:
- Religious headwear or clothing
- Visible waistbands or straps on undergarments (worn under other clothing)
- Tank tops, halter tops
- Ripped jeans (above fingertips must be covered by jeans or other material)
- Athletic attire
- Hoodie sweatshirts (hoods should not be worn on the head at any time during the school day)
Section 4. Students May Not Wear the Following:
- Tube tops (no straps, no sleeves)
- A mask or any item that obscures the face or ears (except religious headwear)
- Crop tops or muscle tank tops (unless full cover is provided underneath)
- Violent, hostile, or threatening text or images (including weapons)
- Pajamas (unless school event allows)
- Accessories that could be considered dangerous or could be used as a weapon
- Images or language depicting drugs, alcohol, gang or other illegal activity
- Hate speech, profanity, sexual text, or images
(Courses that include attire as part of the curriculum, such as public speaking or job readiness courses, may require specific dress. Activity-specific shoe requirements are permitted, such as athletic shoes for PE, as well. However, these requirements may not violate the Guidelines (see above) for equity.