Burnet High School junior Summer Burkhalter and sophomore Andre Miller will no longer be pulled out of class for violating the dress code with their piercings. The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District on May 16 changed the dress code to allow for all students to have ear and nose piercings. Photos by Grace Gates
By Grace Gates • Student Correspondent
The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees made some dress code changes at its regular meeting May 16, removing instances of gender-specific language and instead focusing on maintaining dignity and modesty.
“At a time when some school districts have abandoned student dress codes, Burnet CISD still maintains the importance of a student dress code and believes that it reinforces grooming and hygiene, prevents disruptions, minimizes safety hazards, and supports maintaining a positive learning climate,” BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett told DailyTrib.com.
“Based on the review, the two most notable changes include males and females will be permitted to wear appropriately sized earrings and nostril studs will be permitted,” McBurnett said.
High school junior Summer Burkhalter often wears a small nose stud. She said the school did a poor job of fairly enforcing the past rule, explaining that she was taken out of class several times because of her piercing.
“It threw me off guard,” she said. “I was just like, ‘Why am I the only one being pulled out when there are three other girls with one in my class?’ I think this will help since we won’t be getting pulled out of class, pulled aside, or publicly embarrassed.”
Formerly, the district restricted nose piercings because adult workplaces did so. Schools should prepare students for future employment, McBurnett said.
Summer works at a local business in Burnet.
“It’s not unprofessional or a distraction,” she said. “Many jobs are also starting to allow facial piercings.”
Andre Miller, a sophomore with ear piercings, agreed.
“Earrings don’t affect your grades or who you are and aren’t a big distraction,” he said. “This will have a positive impact on our school because it gives students a chance to express themselves.”
Senior Daphanie Barrios is another proponent of updating the dress code.
“I think that having it gender neutral is great, keeping the school a place of acceptance and a place that allows students to express themselves,” she said.
Even though she is graduating, Barrios is pleased with the dress code adjustments the district made for her younger peers to follow, especially those that are inclusive of all students regardless of gender. That includes removing language from the student handbook such as “mid-thigh” and calling out specific kinds of clothing, like leggings or tank tops, that are female specific.
“I think that our recent dress code changes will be good with how style changes and comes back over time,” Barrios said.
One of the main focuses of the district’s reform was to “recognize changing styles that have become so common that it is no longer practical to prohibit,” McBurnett said.
As for keeping the school a professional institution, BCISD still has several rules in place to guide students to dress modestly. McBurnett said the district wants to keep up with the times “but also reinforce the maintenance of dignity and the prohibition against see-through clothing, low-cut necklines, provocative clothing, exposure of midriff, low-cut arm openings, or any clothing showing undergarments.”
These terms will remain in the student dress code to help facilitate a distraction-free learning environment.
Additionally, BCISD plans to require secondary students to wear an ID badge, beginning with the 2022-23 school year.
“The badge will be used to make purchases in the cafeteria and to check out materials from the library,” the superintendent explained. “In the future, the ID will also be used when students use the district’s transportation services.”
The badges also will be in place to increase school security.