Dress Code Policy


The Hickory Public School Board believes that a safe and disciplined learning environment is essential to operating successful schools.  To this end, the Board may authorize schools at one or all grade spans (high school, middle school, elementary school) to implement programs in which students and/or faculty and staff are required to adhere to a standardized dress code during the school day.  

The school will not discriminate on the basis of sex in the administration of its dress code. Students, parents, and staff may contact the District’s Title IX coordinator to file a complaint if they believe that the dress code has been administered in a discriminatory manner.


The clothing regulated by this Policy shall not be see-through, revealing, cut, slashed, torn, advertise drugs/alcohol, display obscene, offensive, or pornographic words or otherwise be disruptive.  All shirts, blouses, spaghetti straps, tank tops, and top garments shall cover the back and torso and have necklines and arm cuts that are not disruptive or distracting.  

Therefore, students attending the Hickory Public Schools in grades 6 through 12 will adhere to the following standardized dress code each school day during the entire school day.  


All tops are acceptable as long as they fall under the above guidelines.  Shirts are not required to be tucked in.  However, untucked shirts may not extend below the student’s mid-thigh.

Sweatshirts with or without hoods may be worn, but hoods must not be raised or worn during school hours. 


All jackets, coats and vests are permitted as long as they fall under the above guidelines, except those that extend below the student’s mid-thigh. 


Acceptable bottoms include:

  • Pants, skirts, shorts, skorts and capris

  • Dresses are permissible but must not be sleeveless or have spaghetti straps.

  • Blue jeans are permissible but must not contain holes above the knee.

  • No cargo pants. 

  • Jeggings, leggings or tights shall not be worn as the primary bottom.   Solid colored tights and leggings may be worn underneath appropriate bottoms.

  • Shorts, dresses, skorts, and skirts shall be no shorter than two inches above the top of the kneecap.

  • Belts must be standard hook and eye or contain interlocking rings.  The belt tail cannot hang lower than four (4) inches.  Large belt buckles are prohibited.

  • Athletic shorts are permissible as long as they fall no shorter than two inches above the knee


For health and safety reasons, appropriate footwear must be worn at all times.  Bedroom slippers are prohibited.  Socks are not considered to be footwear for purposes of this policy.  


Hats and headgear are not permitted to be worn during school hours.  Hats and headgear worn to school must be stored in the student’s locker or backpack during school hours.


Protective facemasks and coverings are considered for purposes of this article to be articles of clothing and subject to the guidelines and regulations set forth in this policy.   


Reasonable exceptions will be considered when medically necessary.

Each school retains the ability to make exceptions to this Policy during its Spirit Week


Each school shall require full and consistent compliance of the standardized dress code with the least amount of disciplinary action.  

Penalties for non-compliance to this policy shall be commensurate with the least amount of disciplinary action.


Exemptions will be considered and determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee when compliance with this policy interferes with the student’s sincerely held religious belief or customs.

No other exemptions will be considered.

To ensure compliance with this Policy, the Hickory Public School Board shall provide for the following:

  • Provisions for the purchase of an adequate number of items for use in the “clothes closet” for use by students who are not in compliance;

  • Provisions for the purchase of clothing for students who, because of financial hardships, are unable to purchase the required clothing (may be based on free and reduced lunch eligibility);

  • Provisions that ensure that a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs are not substantially burdened;

  • Provisions for the involvement of parents;

  • Provisions for the enforcement of the implementation of the standardized dress code policy, including disciplinary consequences for students failing to comply;

  • Provisions to implement a procedure for evaluating the standardized dress code policy on a yearly basis

  • Provisions to consider reasonable exceptions when medically indicated

Details of standardized dress codes implemented at specific grade spans shall be attached as an appendix to this policy for reference.

This policy shall be reviewed annually or as often as the Hickory Public School Board deems necessary.

Legal References:   G.S. 115C-47, -390.2

Cross References:  Student Behavior Policies (policy 4300), School Plan for Management of Student Behavior (policy 4302), Disruptive Behavior (policy 4315)

If you  have complaints or concerns about enforcement of the dress code differing based on gender or about someone discriminating or separating students based on gender please have them contact:
Dr. Timothy Sims, Title IX Coordinator
432 4th Avenue SW
Hickory, NC 28625
[email protected]
(828) 322-2855 ext. 234