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Dress for Success!

Dress Code

At City Schools, we are committed to creating learning environments where all students feel safe, supported, and respected, and have a true sense of belonging at school. We are also committed to preparing students for their futures in college, careers, and the global workforce, and the professional expectations in these spaces. Our intention is to promote a safe and positive school culture for all students, while also celebrating students who appropriately express their individuality through their dress or appearance during the school day and at school-sponsored events.

Fair and Equitable Treatment of All Students

School administrators, teachers, and all other staff are expected to apply the City Schools Dress Code consistently, fairly, and equitably with all students. The City Schools Dress Code supports equal educational access and is written in a manner that does not discriminate based on students’ race, ethnicity, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy or parenting status, family structure, ability (cognitive, social/emotional, and physical), veteran status, genetic information, age, immigration or citizenship status, socioeconomic status, language, or any other legally or constitutionally protected attributes or affiliations. This commitment reflects the core values of equal educational opportunity in School Board Policies ADA (Equity), JBA (Nondiscrimination – Students), and JBB (Sex-Based Discrimination – Students).

What this means is:

  • The City Schools Dress Code must be enforced equally regardless of a student’s identity.
    • For example, students should never be told that they are violating the City Schools Dress Code because of their body type, body size, gender identity, gender expression, race, religion, or any stereotypes about these personal characteristics.
    • All students should be able to dress comfortably for school without fear of body shaming.
  • Students have the right to wear their hair in any style they choose.
  • Schools may not require students to wear or not wear specific attire based on their personal characteristics. For example, schools may not:
    • prohibit students who identify as male from wearing skirts, jewelry, or nail polish;
    • require students who identify as male or female to wear different uniform or graduation attire.
Dress Code Enforcement

Schools are required to enforce the City Schools Dress Code in a way that supports students’ academic achievement and well-being. What this means is:

  • School staff should use student-positive, body-positive language and should not touch students when correcting City Schools Dress Code violations. Student-positive, body-positive language aims to support students in becoming college and career-ready, aims to nurture students into whole and fulfilled people, centers students’ humanity even when they require correction, is offered privately when possible, and never seeks to embarrass, shame, or make an example out of students.
  • School staff can support students by modeling professional dress, grounding dress code corrections in positive relationships, and maintaining consistent, high expectations for all students.
  • If a student appears to be struggling to maintain clean clothing or uniforms, schools are encouraged to intervene in support of the student.
  • Students cannot be suspended, “sent home,” or excluded from school for a Dress Code or uniform violation. City Schools supports schools using other consequences aligned to the Student Code of Conduct to enforce Dress Code violations.
  • Baltimore City School Police should not be enforcing the City Schools Dress Code.
Expectations for Student Dress

In general, students are expected to dress in a way that is conducive to learning and promotes a safe and supportive academic environment.

At most schools, students wear a uniform — usually a polo, Oxford-style, or t-shirt and skirt, pants, or knee-length shorts. Check with your school for detailed information. Any student who faces challenges with finding or purchasing uniforms or other clothing required for school should contact their principal, assistant principal, social worker, or other trusted school staff member for guidance, support, and resources. There may be uniform vouchers available, or the school may have information about uniform exchanges or low-cost purchasing options.

The following requirements apply to all students at all schools across City Schools, whether they attend a school where uniforms are required or not.  Some schools may add other specific requirements in writing as part to their school-based dress codes, as long as they do not conflict with the City Schools Dress Code.

Additional Resources

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Student Rights and Responsibilities

Quick Quide

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Student Code of Conduct

General requirements
  • The style of clothes that students wear may not endanger them or other students.
  • The style of clothes worn may not disrupt the daily school routine.
  • Students may be required to wear certain types of clothing, usually for safety reasons, while participating in classes such as physical education, shop, chemistry, etc., or in curricular and extracurricular classes or activities such as band, choir, dance, drama, theater, or sports.
  • Students may not wear clothing or apparel with text, images, or language that is obscene, libelous, slanderous, profane, vulgar, lewd, indecent, or has the intent to bully, harass, threaten, or intimidate, or otherwise cause material or substantial disruption to the operation of the school. Some examples of prohibited attire are clothing or apparel that displays profanity, sexually suggestive statements, or sexual acts, and hate speech, as well as text or images of weapons or that promote illegal drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, or violence.
Specific requirements

These requirements apply to all students during the school day and during school-sponsored activities:

  • No pajama-type attire, undershirts or other bedtime attire is allowed, unless approved by principal for a specific event, such as “pajama day.”
  • Slippers, thongs, “heelys,” flip-flops, and other similar footwear are not allowed.
  • No real or imitation leather, fur, or animal-skin jackets, coats, vests, pants, or skirts are allowed.
  • No hats, hair rollers, or curlers are allowed. Hats or head coverings are permitted for religious or approved medical accommodations.
  • Because theft and loss are school security concerns, wearing jewelry in schools is prohibited. Specifically, the following items are not allowed: metal chains, ropes, necklaces, bracelets, rings, large or extravagant earrings, multi-fingered rings. Exceptions are wedding rings for married students (these students must supply proof to the school of their marriage), school rings, nonvisible metal religious items, and medical identification bracelets. Watches may be permitted, but if they can be used as phones, texting devices, or to access the Internet, they must comply with the rules in Board Policy JICJ (Student Use of Portable Electronic Communications Devices).
  • Pants should be worn appropriately at the waist, without undergarments showing.
  • Face coverings are not permitted unless for religious or approved medical purposes. For example, ski masks are not allowed, but surgical masks are allowed to prevent spread of illness.
  • Shorts and skirts may not be shorter than fingertip length (the bottom hem of the shorts/skirt should not fall above the student’s fingertips when their arms are relaxed at their sides). Halter tops, tank tops, spaghetti straps, muscle shirts, or see-through clothing are not allowed.
  • No elastic fabric sportswear is allowed, but clothing with elastic waistbands is permitted.
  • No clothing designed or altered to expose undergarments or parts of the body except arms or legs is allowed.
  • No undergarments worn as outerwear are allowed. Clothing should be worn so that undergarments, including boxer shorts, thongs, or bras, are not exposed.


Students are encouraged to bring any unidentified clothing items to the school office, where they will be maintained for a reasonable amount of time, as space permits.  However, City Schools is not responsible for any jewelry or clothing items that are damaged, stolen, or lost at school or in school sponsored activities.

Opportunities for Feedback

The City Schools Dress Code has been updated for the 2023-2024 school year, based on feedback from students, teachers, principals, parents, and other stakeholders.  We know that there are many viewpoints on this topic, and City Schools will continue broad engagement with our community, with the goal of releasing additional guidance for the 2024-2025 school year. 

In addition, if you have concerns about your school’s enforcement of the Dress Code, please talk to your school principal, or you can reach out to the CEO’s Ombudsman.  You also may file an appeal following the instructions in the Student Code of Conduct and Board Policy JKA (Behavioral Interventions and Student Discipline), and the accompanying regulations.