Apple Watches and other similar devices could be banned in South Portland’s schools under a new dress code.
It’s been almost 20 years since the dress code for South Portland schools has been updated. The old dress code uses very generic language, which some in the community said leaves room for interpretation.
“The last couple of years we’ve not had an enforceable dress code because of the wording and some of the language,” said Eliza House, a senior at South Portland High School.
The new guidelines clarify what it is and what is not allowed in school to help keep the focus on learning.
“I think the specificity of the dress code is actually an advantage because it provides much more clarity to our students,” said Tim Matheney, South Portland schools superintendent. “But what’s really strong about it is the fact that it keeps the focus on a positive learning environment.”
Clothing that aligns with a student’s gender identity, religious attire, tank tops, ripped jeans and other similar clothing is allowed.
Anything with profanity, hate speech, drugs or alcohol or exposes specific areas of a student’s body is not.
The new guidelines also say students cannot have wearable technology that is disruptive to the school environment, which could include things like Apple Watches, Fitbits or headphones.
“This is a forward looking policy when it comes to wearable technology,” Matheney said. “There may be some things coming along in the future that we would be uncomfortable with our students wearing in the course of a school day. Something that might interfere with learning. There are very few things today that I think would really rise to the level of enforcement.”
Some students said their devices help them focus in school and are hoping their current tech doesn’t break the new policy.
“It’s kind of that fine line of where it becomes disruptive. I listen to music, I have my Apple Watch and it really helps me focus on getting my school work done. I think where are you going to draw that fine line where it is disruptive or where it is not disruptive,” said Noah Erskine, a senior at South Portland High School.