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The Indianapolis Public Schools’ dress code is about how students look, how students behave, and achieve. Proper attire is the first step in creating a classroom environment that provides a laser focus on instruction. As such, students and their parents/guardians hold the primary responsibility in determining a student’s personal attire, hairstyle, jewelry, and personal items (e.g. backpacks, book bags) according to the IPS dress code. Schools are responsible for ensuring that student attire, hairstyle, jewelry, and personal items do not interfere with the health or safety of any student and do not contribute to a hostile or intimidating environment for any student. Students have a district-wide behavioral expectation to act responsibly and dress in clothing that prepares them for a professional mindset. Students are to be dressed in appropriate attire beginning the first day of the school year.

Standard Mode of Dress (SMOD)

SMOD Mandatory:
Tops: Must cover midriff, chest and back
Bottoms: To be worn at the waist
Shoes: No open-toe shoes or slippers
Headphones and earbuds: May be worn at the direction of staff.
Unacceptable Attire Guidelines:
– Attire that may damage school property or cause personal injury to others (such as chains or studded items) is unacceptable.
– Clothing that advertises, promotes, or glorifies the use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or other illegal substances is unacceptable.
– Clothing that is suggestive, has a double meaning or innuendo, or suggests inappropriate ideas such as ripped jeans above the thigh, onesie, unitards, and/or bodysuits.
– Any personal belongings, apparel, jewelry, cosmetic, make-up accessory, notebook, or manner of grooming which, by virtue of its color arrangement, trademark, or any other attitude denoting membership in a gang, advocating drug use or violence, or clothing bearing racially or sexually offensive messages, is unacceptable.
– Home/Sleep apparel is not appropriate; this includes but is not limited to head scarves, wave caps, bonnets, pajamas, robes, slippers, and blankets.
– Sunglasses, hats, and hoods are not to be worn in the building at any time unless a written prescription is on file, which indicates the necessity for the student to wear them. If violated, these items can be confiscated by the administration. 

Anything else the principal or designee deems inappropriate or disruptive to the educational environment will be prohibited.
Failure to meet SMOD expectations will result in a SMOD item being offered with collateral so that the student may return to class or the student missing class while waiting for a parent to deliver proper clothing to school.  Repeated offenses will be considered defiant behavior and will result in disciplinary action. 

Athletic Attire (Game Day and Practice)

  • Team sweatshirts and polo shirts are permissible 
  • Hooded items must bear the official school logo and are subject to district guidelines regarding headwear being worn inside the building 
  • Must meet minimum standards of appropriateness and modesty for Physical Education classes (including wearing a shirt at all times) 
  • Appropriate sweats or uniform apparel must be worn immediately before and after sports practice 
  • Coaches will determine dress code attire for home and away events 

Exemptions to Dress Code Policy 5511

Any necessary modifications for individual students (e.g health concerns, religious, etc.) to the IPS Uniform Dress Code must be formally addressed and approved through the Board Waiver process