Skip to main content

Personal tools


Student Dress June 2021 Revision

Notice: This policy was reviewed, revised, and/or renamed. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please see our current policies and procedural directives.

This procedural directive was updated in July 2022

General Provisions

Albuquerque Public Schools expects student dress and grooming to reflect high standards of personal conduct.  Student’s attire ought to promote a positive, safe and healthy atmosphere within the school. Each student’s mode of dress and grooming is a manifestation of personal style and individual presence. The APS dress code shall not interfere with the right of students and their parents to make decisions regarding their appearance except when their choices affect the educational program of the school or the health and safety of others.

Principals shall develop and implement written individual school dress codes that comply with the requirements of this procedural directive. Principals may customize their individual school dress codes to address the needs and standards of their communities and neighborhoods through use of a process that ensures input from students, parents, faculty and staff of the school and other interested community members. Students and their parents/legal guardians shall be aware of the individual school dress code and shall conform to those requirements. Principals shall interpret and enforce the dress code of his/her school.

Individual school dress codes shall be reviewed periodically with parents, teachers, and student group representatives to enlist their support and encourage pride.


For purposes of this procedural directive, "cultural or religious headdresses" includes hijabs, head wraps or other headdresses used as part of an individual's personal cultural or religious beliefs. 

For purposes of this procedural directive, "protective hairstyles" includes such hairstyles as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, weaves, wigs or head wraps.

For purposes of this procedural directive, "race" includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, length of hair, protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses.

Guidelines for Prohibited Dress

Albuquerque Public Schools shall prohibit student dress that may present a health or safety hazard, violate municipal or state law or present a potential disruption to the instructional program. Albuquerque Public Schools shall prohibit attire or accessories that advertise, display or promote any drug, including alcohol or tobacco, sexual activity, violence, disrespect and/or show bigotry toward any group. The APS Board of Education shall not allow for the imposition of discipline, discrimination or disparate treatment against a student based on the student's race or culture or because of the student's use of protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses.

Prohibited clothing and accessories include, but are not limited to:

  • gang-related attire
  • excessively tight or revealing clothes
  • short shorts, skirts and dresses
  • bare midriff
  • low-cut and/or off the shoulder blouses
  • spiked jewelry
  • chains
  • belts with more than two inches excess.
  • "Sagging," or the wearing of pants below the waist and/or in a manner that allows underwear or bare skin to show, and "bagging," or the wearing of excessively baggy pants with low hanging crotches.

Hair color, length, style, including hair coverings or styles related to an individual’s personal, cultural or religious beliefs cannot be considered for disciplinary action.

Hats and Caps 

Albuquerque Public Schools shall encourage students to wear hats and caps while participating in activities out-doors due to health concerns of prolonged or excessive exposure to direct ultraviolet radiation of sunlight. Outdoor activities include, but are not limited to, recess, athletic and sports activities, music rehearsals and other extracurricular activities.

Hats or caps worn by students shall not present a health or safety hazard, violate municipal or state law or present a potential for disruption to the instructional program. Hats and caps shall not advertise, display or promote any drug, including alcohol or tobacco, sexual activity, violence, disrespect and/or show bigotry toward any group. Albuquerque Public Schools shall prohibit hats and caps that are deemed gang-related attire.

Hats or caps shall not to be worn while inside buildings unless there are specific instructional, safety, cultural, religious or medical reasons for the student doing so.

Student Uniform Dress

Individual Albuquerque Public Schools may adopt student uniform dress policies in compliance with the minimum requirements set forth in this procedural directive. 

All schools which have a uniform dress code shall be required to allow all students to wear:

  • “docker” style pants that are black, navy and khaki in color; and
  • Polo style shirts that are white, light blue, dark blue and green and are solid in color.

Schools may accept additional colors or styles of pants and shirts as a school-based decision.

If a school wishes adopts a student uniform dress policy, it shall develop, implement and document processes utilized to ensure student, parent/legal guardian and school community input and involvement in the planning and adoption process.  The process shall include:

  • a distribution of the proposed policy to all parents/legal guardians and students;
  • specific plans to accommodate those families who cannot afford to purchase the required clothing; and
  • an advertised public meeting at the school to allow discussion and comment on the proposed policy.

The school shall submit the proposed dress policy and the family involvement and polling plan to the appropriate associate superintendent for approval prior to holding any community vote. 

The school shall document a vote on the proposed policy with each student family having one vote. The school shall mail ballots with pre-paid return addressed envelopes to each family eligible to vote. At least sixty-five percent (65%) of the returned ballots must be in support of the proposal before the school may adopt a student uniform dress policy.

If a school successfully implements a school uniform dress code, the school shall be required on an annual basis to:

  • submit the specific plan to accommodate those families who cannot afford to purchase required clothing for the current school year; and
  • notify the APS Clothing Bank of the specific uniform dress code to be implemented for the current school year.

No student shall miss instructional class time for the first two weeks of the school year or within the first two weeks of the student’s date of enrollment (whichever is later) due to their failure to wear appropriate school uniforms so long as the student’s dress complies with the minimum requirements of the Albuquerque Public Schools dress code as outlined above.  If a student fails to appear in uniform dress due to an inability of the family to pay for required dress, the school shall immediately implement their plan to accommodate the family.

A school may request permission from the superintendent, or his/her designee, to use a polling process different from that outlined above.

Uniform Dress or Appearance for Musical Performing Group

The district recognizes that some schools may desire uniform dress or appearance for performing musical groups for positive reasons. These positive aspects may include group identity, motivation, and appearance. The ability of all students to participate in district-sponsored activities shall be taken into consideration when uniforms are selected.  If a school permits the wearing of a simple uniform dress or appearance requirements by musical performing groups, the following guidelines shall be pursued:

  • Parents/legal guardians shall be notified in advance of any uniform dress for musical performing groups during a school year in the school's course description booklet which is sent home to families.
  • Each teacher shall have the approval of the principal, or his/her designee, before any discussion and/or decision takes place between teacher and his/her class.
  • As often as possible, uniforms shall incorporate clothing that can be worn at other times.
  • Total cost of the uniform shall not exceed minimum practical cost.
  • Individual schools and/or music departments involved shall be ready to help any student that cannot afford the minimum cost. Under no circumstances shall any student ever be excluded from the performing group for not having the group uniform.
  • Any exceptions to the above shall be presented, in writing, to the principal and shall not be approved without counter signature of the appropriate associate superintendent or his/her designee.
  • If a course or activity is required of all students, no fee may be charged nor may students be required to purchase a uniform.

Graduation Dress

Schools shall establish individual standards of appropriate dress, allowable accessories and regalia for honors assemblies taking place prior to the school’s official commencement ceremony.

Schools of choice shall establish individual standards of appropriate dress, allowable accessories and regalia and gap and gown requirements for graduation ceremonies.  School of choice graduating students shall be required to comply with the standards established by the school in order to participate in a district graduation ceremony.

All comprehensive high schools and their graduating seniors shall comply with the standards outlined by the district in order to participate in a district graduation ceremony.  Those standards are:

  • All graduating seniors shall be required to wear a graduation cap and gown to participate in a district graduation ceremony.
  • The following shall be allowed by all schools:
    • Stoles distributed by the Indian Education Department
    • Stoles distributed by the Black Student Unions (Kente Cloths)
    • Stoles distributed by Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)
    • Stoles distributed by Gay Straight Alliance (GSA’s)
    • Students shall be encouraged to wear cultural dress.  Schools may, however, require the cultural dress be worn underneath the traditional cap and gown with the exception of the stoles mentioned above. 
    • Students shall be permitted and encouraged to wear academic regalia.  District departments and/or schools may request from the associate superintendent of high schools and chief academic officer that its regalia be considered “academic” for graduation purposes.  The associate superintendent for high schools and chief academic officer shall implement a standardized process through which regalia may be evaluated.
    • Schools shall establish individual standards of appropriate attire to be worn under the graduation cap and gown.  

Administrative Position:                   

  • Associate Superintendents for Leadership and Learning

Department Director:                       

  • Executive Director of Student, Parent and Employee Service Center
  • School Principals


Legal Cross Ref.:  

  • §22-5-4.3 NMSA 1978

Board Policy Cross Ref.:                 

  • JI1 –Student Dress
  • JK Student Discipline

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:    

  • Student Discipline and Suspension
  • Student Fees, Fines and Charges

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JICA, IHAGA

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Approved: January 16, 2001
Revised: September 2009
Reviewed: September 24, 2010
Reviewed: October 11, 2010
Revised: October 15, 2010
Reviewed: September 10, 2014
Revised: September 26, 2014
Revised: February 19, 2015
Reviewed: October 28, 2015
Revised: November 11, 2015
Reviewed: December 9, 2015
Revised: December 11, 2015
Reviewed: June 16, 2021
Revised:  June 30, 2021

This page was last updated on: October 27, 2010.