Dress code requirement added to dyslexia reporting bill, advanced to final round

Lawmakers expanded a bill that would collect data on students with dyslexia to include a proposed statewide model student dress code before advancing the measure from select file April 4.

Sen. Lou Ann Linehan
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan

LB298, introduced by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, would require school districts to provide information on dyslexia to the state Department of Education, including the number of students tested for dyslexia, those identified as exhibiting characteristics of dyslexia and those diagnosed with dyslexia who have improved their reading skills as a result of that diagnosis.

The department would be required to compile the information and provide an annual report to the Legislature.

Lawmakers adopted an amendment on select file to add the provisions of Omaha Sen. Terrell McKinney’s LB630, which would require all school districts in Nebraska to adopt a written dress code and grooming policy.

McKinney said many existing dress codes have racial or religious implications, including prohibitions on head scarfs and durags, which disproportionately impact students of color.

“A recent report … highlighted the need to update school dress code and grooming policies to ensure that students can show up to school as their true selves,” he said.

Under the amendment, the model policy could not:
• target, disproportionately impact, discriminate or be applied in a discriminatory manner against any students on the basis of race, religion, sex, disability or national origin;
• prohibit a student from wearing attire, including religious attire, natural and protective hairstyles, adornments or other characteristics associated with race, national origin or religion; or
• require a student’s hair to be permanently or temporarily altered.

By July 1, 2025, each school district would be required to adopt a code to be implemented at the start of the 2025-26 school year that is consistent with the department’s policy and may include other procedures and provisions that the school board deems appropriate.

Violations of the written dress code and grooming policy would be treated as minor on the continuum of school rule violations and would not subject students to long-term suspension, expulsion or mandatory reassignment — nor require a student to miss substantial classroom or instruction time or school activities.

Under no circumstances could an administrator, teacher, other staff member or contractor temporarily or permanently alter or cut a student’s hair.

Lawmakers adopted the McKinney amendment on a 37-0 vote. After also adopting a technical amendment offered by Linehan, senators advanced LB298 to final reading by voice vote.

Bookmark and Share