RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When Oak Grove-Bellmeade Elementary School appeared to suddenly announce a whole new dress code policy Monday morning parents were concerned. However, all was not as it seemed. 

Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School released what appeared to be a new dress code policy for the 2022-2023 school year and made an announcement on its website. 

The school provided reasoning for the new policy which included: 

  • Dress codes encourage students to express their individuality through personality and academic achievements, not outward appearances. 
  • Dress codes put focus on learning, not fashion. 
  • Schools with dress codes have fewer discipline problems because students are not distracted by other students’ clothing. 
  • Dress codes can be less expensive. 
  • Dress codes create a sense of school pride and belonging. 
  • Dress codes allow for outdoor play.  

However, Richmond Public Schools stated that the announcement of these new policies was sent by mistake. 

“Something was published that should not have been published,” said Sarah Abubaker the Associate Director of Advocacy and Outreach for Richmond Public Schools. 

She explains that the want for change in their current dress code policy comes from the community and staff at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School. One of the goals that they hope to accomplish by changing the dress code would be to give students fewer options which would provide them with a safer learning environment. 

The school district said that school uniforms are not mandatory in Richmond Public Schools, and before implementing something like this, the district would go through a “community engagement process” where the opinions of the community, faculty and staff would be considered. 

Richmond Public Schools wants all parents to stay up to date regarding more information by visiting its website. More information can also be found on your schools’ respective websites. 

Information for the would-be uniform policy has now been removed from the school’s website but the specific clothing requirements for students can be read below:

Bottoms: 

  • Must be solid tan/khaki or navy blue long pants, short pants, skirts, skorts or jumpers. 
  • The hem on the shorts, skirts, skorts or jumpers may not be higher than two inches above the knee. 
  • Bottoms may be twill, corduroy, wool, cotton/polyester blend or cotton. 
  • Bottoms must be worn securely at the waist. 
  • A solid black or brown belt is required if a garment has belt loops and the shirt is tucked in. Kindergarten and first-grade students do not have to wear belts. 
  • Leggings or shorts must be worn under skirts. 

Tops: 

  • Must be solid white long or short-sleeved, collared shirts. 
  • All shirts must have a collar. Shirts may be knit polo, oxford or woven dress shirts. 
  • Only OGBES logos are allowed on shirts. 
  • All shirts with tails must be tucked in. 
  • Belts are required when shirts are tucked in and the bottoms have belt loops. This applies to students in second up to fifth grade. 

Sweaters: 

  • Must be solid navy blue. 
  • May be worn during cold weather. 
  • A solid white or navy blue collared shirt must be worn underneath sweaters. 

OGBES T-Shirts: 

  • Spirit wear T-shirts, House shirts and other OGBES shirts may be worn on Fridays. 

Hoodies: 

  • No hoodies will be allowed indoors. 
  • Hoodies can be worn outside during recess, morning arrival and afternoon dismissal. 

Shoes/socks: 

  • Shoes must be primarily solid black, navy or brown closed-toe rubber-soled shoes with backs or solid white or black sneakers. 
  • Shoes must be appropriate for Physical Education class and outdoor activities including recess and trips to Bellemeade Park. No platforms, boots or high heels are allowed. 
  • Socks must be solid white, black or navy blue. 
  • Solid white, black or navy blue tights are allowed with skirts, skorts or jumpers.