WHEREAS, our State's schools should be safe, disciplined environments conducive to learning; and
WHEREAS, the education of our State's students should occur in an atmosphere free from as many distractions as possible; and
WHEREAS, among such distractions can be a student's clothing itself; and
WHEREAS, peer pressure causes students to ask their parents to spend large sums of money to ensure that they can wear designer clothes to school on a regular basis; and
WHEREAS, students have, regrettably, used particular articles of clothing on occasion to identify themselves as members of certain "gangs", to the detriment of discipline and safety at their schools; and
WHEREAS, the State's schools have experienced other disruptions as a result of the types of clothing worn by students; and
WHEREAS, uniformity and orderliness of dress can contribute to an orderly, disciplined school environment and conceal income disparities among students; and
WHEREAS, local boards of education are in the best position to determine the appropriateness of adopting school dress codes and authorizing schools to require students to a wear uniforms; and
WHEREAS, the General Assembly believes it desirable to provide local school boards with clear legal authority to adopt dress code and school uniform policies;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 41, Title 14, Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new section to read as follows:
"§ 4120. School dress codes and uniforms.
(a) The school board of each public school district shall have authority to establish and enforce a dress code program, which may include school uniforms, for students within the district to promote an orderly, disciplined school environment and to encourage uniformity of student dress. Any school board exercising its authority under this section shall promulgate rules and regulations governing the establishment and enforcement of its dress code program.
(b) In establishing a dress code that adopts school uniforms, the rules and regulations of the school board shall ensure that any uniform required is available at an affordable price, and shall include provision to assist economically disadvantaged students in obtaining school uniforms".
Section 2. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.