Dress code may change for teachers and staff in the Deer Valley district

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Teachers and staff working in the Deer Valley Unified School District may have to learn some new rules when it comes to dress code.

It is a lesson in accountability and higher standards.

"There was no event that led up to us looking at dress code it was really just about how do we define ourselves and what we set as our standard for professions," said Dr. Mark Oesterle, the principal at Constitution Elementary School.

The school is one of more than 30 schools where teachers and staff now have to abide by a specific dress code.

The proposed changes to the current dress code are not unusually strict, just specific -- no flip flops, no jeans for the most part, no spaghetti straps for women or skirts higher than three inches above the knee. For men -- no t-shirts or ball caps. They must wear professional attire.

Dr. Oesterle said, "My joke is we want to be able to tell the students from the teachers not only because of height but because of dress."

As for why now -- Dr. Oesterle says this move is less about timing and more about constantly setting improved standards.

"As an organization, as a school district, we really wanted to take a look deeper, what does professional dress look like and define that at all levels within the organization. We wanted to set that standard for everyone so there is consistency among our schools, " said Dr. Oesterle.

Dr. Oesterle says people at the Deer Valley Unified School District are constantly thinking about how to do things better, set better examples, and that a dress code is another way to teach students a valuable lesson.

"If we can set those expectations for our students, and model that as teachers and administrators I think we are teaching what to expect in future life opportunities."

The new dress code guidelines will go up for a vote at a board meeting later this year.