Safety and belonging are important components of a positive school culture. The dress code policy is focused on promoting both. Students may dress in any style they desire and may present themselves in a way that is consistent with their identity, as long as their chosen attire does not cause a disruption or compromise safety in the school environment. The following examples are intended to represent these limitations:
Items not to be worn include:
- Clothing or accessories that cover your face
- Clothing or accessories that may be used as a weapon
- See-through clothing
- Clothing or accessories with statements or images that are vulgar, obscene, or promote illegal drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, or gang activities
- Clothing or accessories that expose undergarments or the buttocks
- Clothing or accessories with words, pictures, or caricatures based on stereotypes of a specific gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or disability
- Clothing or accessories with Native American team names, logos, or mascots that depict stereotypes
- Clothing or accessories with sincerely held religious affiliations or purposes are allowed
- Shoes or footwear must be worn at all times
- Students at schools with board-approved school uniforms must abide by that policy
Student Dress Code Guidelines Regarding Native American Team Names, Mascots and Logos
What team names, mascot and logos are prohibited?
According to the Dress Code, students may not wear clothing with words, pictures or caricatures based on negative stereotypes of a specific gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or disability. Specifically, students are prohibited from wearing any clothing (including jerseys), hats or other attire containing the name of or logos for the Washington Redskins football team and other similarly named non-professional sports teams. The term “redskin” is a clearly disparaging term and racial epithet.
Students wearing any clothing, hats or other attire depicting the team name or logos for the Washington Redskins football team or other similarly named non-professional sports teams will be asked to immediately remove item.
What about other race-based team names, mascots and logos?
While additional race-based team names, mascots and logos are not expressly prohibited, students may not wear clothing based on negative stereotypes. As such, clothing and other apparel depicting Native American team names, mascots and logos is strongly discouraged.
All students and families should be aware of the negative impact race-based team names, mascots and logos have on all students.
Native American team names, mascots and logos promote incorrect and inaccurate images of contemporary Native Americans, cultural bias and an environment tolerant of stereotypes. Native American team names, mascots and logos negatively impact Native students’ sense of community and belonging in the school environment, leaving some students feeling marginalized from the school community.
Furthermore, such stereotypes negatively impact all students. All students exposed to negative stereotypes are more likely to believe negative stereotypes of that group and other groups.
In order to combat these negative effects and create a positive learning environment for all students, the District will increase and improve communication to students and families regarding the negative impacts of Native American team names, mascots and logos through classroom discussions, school orientation materials, guidance documents and handbooks.
In order to ensure students have an accurate understanding of Native American history and culture, the District is committed to providing instruction related to Native American history, cultures, tribal sovereignty, and contemporary status with information specific to Madison and the state of Wisconsin. The curricular resources in grades 3, 4, 5, and 8 incorporate primary and secondary sources to teach about the early history of First Nations in Wisconsin. In high school U.S. history courses, students will critically read primary and secondary documents to understand how Wisconsin American Indians show perseverance and resilience in the struggle for reaffirming rights, exercising treaties, and tribal sovereignty. The District will also work with schools to identify ongoing opportunities to honor and celebrate Native American culture.
What is the relationship between the dress code and other District policies?
Students that feel they are being harmed or negatively impacted by another student wearing clothing with words, pictures or caricatures based on negative stereotypes of a Native American image should report their concerns to an adult staff person. Staff shall intervene and advise the student wearing the image that their conduct is having a negative impact on their peer. If the student continues to wear the image, despite the awareness of the impact it is having on the reporting student, that student may be subject to discipline under District policies.
A student who intentionally continues to wear clothing with imagery based on negative stereotypes may be violating the District’s Student Anti-Bullying Policy (#4510). In addition, the student negatively impacted may file a complaint under the District’s Student Non-Discrimination Policy (#4620).
Additional Guidance Regarding Native American Team Names, Mascots and Logos
What team names, mascot and logos are discouraged?
- Fighting Illini
- Fighting Sioux
- Red Raiders