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Student Dress

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. Individual school communities shall adopt their school dress codes to address the needs and standards of their communities and neighborhoods through the use of a process that ensures input from students, families, faculty, and staff of the school and community input. Students and their parents/legal guardians shall be aware of the individual school dress code and shall conform to those requirements, including a uniform dress code where implemented. The principal will review the process and the proposed dress code with the school instructional council and the associate superintendent. Principals shall interpret and enforce the dress code of their school.

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

Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, "cultural or religious headdresses" include hijabs, head wraps, or other headdresses used as part of an individual's personal cultural or religious beliefs (Section 22-5-4.3 NMSA 1978).

For purposes of this procedural directive, "protective hairstyles" include such hairstyles as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, weaves, wigs, or head wraps (Section 22-5-4.3 NMSA 1978).

Guidelines for School-Adopted Dress Code

Individual Albuquerque Public Schools shall adopt student dress codes in compliance with the minimum requirements set forth in this procedural directive and board policy.

Each school community shall develop a dress code. Each school shall develop, implement, and document processes utilized to ensure student, parent/legal guardian, school staff, and school community input and involvement in the planning and adoption process. The process shall include:

  • distribution of the proposed dress code to all parents/legal guardians and students
  • an advertised public meeting at the school to allow discussion and comment on the proposed dress code
  • a dress code process approved by the school site instructional council

The school shall submit the proposed dress code 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 dress code with each student family having one vote. The school shall facilitate a voting process. At least sixty-five percent (65%) of the votes must be in support of the proposal before the school may adopt a student dress code.

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. The APS Board of Education shall not allow for the imposition of punishment, discrimination, or disparate treatment against a student based on the student's racial identity, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, cultural or religious identity and observances, household income, body size/type or body maturity 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:

  • obscene or violent language or images
  • depictions of alcohol or drugs or other illegal item or activity
  • racist content, hate speech, profanity, or pornography
  • accessories that could be considered dangerous or used as a weapon
  • underclothing worn as primary clothing items
  • sheer or see-through clothing
  • swimwear
  • clothing without all sides in the garment

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

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 that 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
  • 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 to adopt 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
  • 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 facilitate a voting process. At least sixty-five percent (65%) of the votes 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
  • 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 as 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 the designee, to use a polling process different from that outlined above.

Students Not Following School Dress Code

Students are expected to follow the dress code at school. When students do not dress appropriately the following steps will be followed.

  • Offer other clothing options if available
  • Call parent/guardian to bring other clothing
  • Students could have consequences such as lunch detention, loss of recess, etc.

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 their designee before any discussion and/or decision takes place between teacher and their 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 who 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 their 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.

Elective Courses

The district recognizes that some schools may have elective courses that have specific dress and hair requirements. Students attending these courses are expected to follow the dress and/or hair requirements for the elective course. Students who are not willing to adhere to the dress and/or hair requirements will be offered a different elective course. Courses requesting alternate dress and/or hair requirements must be approved through Curriculum and Instruction and the appropriate Associate Superintendent for Leadership and Learning.

Graduation Dress

The purpose of APS-sponsored commencement ceremonies is to honor the academic achievements of members of the graduating class. During participation in district-sponsored graduation ceremonies, the graduates of all comprehensive high schools and APS schools of choice will comply with the district's dress code supplemented by the standards for graduation dress in this procedural directive. It is the responsibility of school principals and activities directors to promulgate and enforce this procedural directive to students and the community.

Standards for Student Apparel and Graduate Regalia

All graduating seniors will be required to wear a uniform graduation cap and gown to participate in a district-sponsored graduation ceremony. Graduation caps may not be decorated, with the exception of Eagle Feathers awarded to the graduate by tribal leadership. Students who can appropriately wear an eagle feather will notify the principal or activities director at least one week prior to the graduation ceremony. Regalia, including, but not limited to, non-APS awarded cords, stoles, leis, religious items, “in memory of items,” and flags worn as regalia are not permitted at APS-sponsored graduation ceremonies.

Students are encouraged to wear cultural attire under the standard cap and gown during the district-sponsored commencement ceremony and school honors assemblies. Students wishing to wear cultural attire under their gowns shall notify their school administration prior to their graduation ceremony.

Approved Regalia

The following district-approved regalia will be allowed by all schools during both district graduation and school honors assemblies:

  • 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 the American Asian and Pacific Islander Student Unions (AAPI)
  • Stoles distributed by the Genders Sexuality Alliance (GSAs) Stoles distributed by military organizations

Athletic/Activity Medals

Students may wear the following athletic/activity medals to both APS-sponsored graduation ceremonies and school honors assemblies:

  • NMAA Athletic State Championship Medal
  • NMAA Activity State Championship Medal
  • School awarded Male or Female Athlete of the Year Medal

Cultural Awards

  • Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Student Union
  • Genders Sexuality Alliance Regalia
  • Black Student Unions (Kente Cloths)
  • Indian Education Tribal Seal
  • Distinguished Learning Seal
  • Native American APS Bilingual Seal
  • Native American State Bilingual Seal

Approval Process for Academic and Activity Regalia

Students may earn cords and/or stoles for meeting and/or exceeding the requirements set forth by the district, authorized school clubs, and/or athletics.

Students shall be permitted and encouraged to wear academic regalia awarded by school or district programs. 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 the chief academic officer will implement a standardized process through which regalia may be evaluated and approved.

 School Honors Assemblies

Individual schools must adhere to the standards articulated above for district-sponsored graduation ceremonies and may establish standards of appropriate graduate attire to be worn under the cap and gown at the school-sponsored honors or robing assemblies in alignment with the school's dress code, including allowable accessories and regalia.

 Administrative Positions:

  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Chief of Schools

Department Directors:

  • Executive Director of Student, Parent and Employee Service Center
  •  Associate Superintendent, Leadership, Learning, and Equity Goal 3
  • Director of Activities and Athletics

References

Board Policy Cross References:

Procedural Directive Cross References:

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JICA, JICDA

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
Reviewed: July 7, 2022
Revised: July 15, 2022
Reviewed: June 5, 2023
Revised: June 28, 2023
Reviewed: December 15, 2023
Revised: January 10, 2024