As hot as it is outside, it’s the perfect time to get organized for the upcoming school year by cleaning out closets and shopping for new school attire.
It’s a good way to stay cool now and feel “cool” when school starts.
But before setting out to purchase the latest trendy items to wear to school, such as the Silly Bandz craze still lingering from last year, and before darning kids’ pockets with new cell phones, Droids, and iPhones, take a minute to find out what Cherokee County schools perceive as “appropriate” for this upcoming year.
One of the coolest new products for students is Lockerlookz, a way to “Transform your school locker from basic to beautiful with high-fashion locker decorations that make it easy for you to have an amazing locker in no time!” said the product website.
According to associates at Learning Express, this is the hottest item selling right now. With wallpaper, chandeliers, rugs, mirrors, and more to decorate the inside of a locker, students can have fun creating a personal space at school.
Although it is important for students to have a sense of personal belonging at school, there are some personal belongings that need to stay home.
According to school officials, the most troublesome item in middle and high schools, as well as for some sixth graders in elementary schools, is the cell phone.
“It’s the number one thing,” said Kari Day, registrar at
While many students have their own phones and realize the etiquette of proper usage, the Cherokee County School District has adopted the following policy for students:
“Students are not allowed to have cell phones at any time during school hours from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”
Students are also not allowed to have cell phones on school buses.
The district Student-Parent Handbook presents the following reason for this stringent policy.
“The reasons for no cell phones during school hours include cheating on tests, disruptions to class, inappropriate downloaded pictures, violation of privacy of other students if camera is used, inappropriate text messaging and phone calls to other students, and disruption of school phone service in case of an emergency.”
Day said, “It’s part of their life 24/7 but at school, they have to remove it because it can interfere with education.”
Many school administrators agree that enforcing the “leave at home” policy is tough, so they have adopted a more realistic policy.
“We tell our kids to keep their phones off and out of sight,” said Day and several administrators.
Often, when students need to call home, they need to take out their cell phones to retrieve numbers, said Day. “It’s a safety thing but it’s hard when it interrupts education.”
Included on each middle school website is the progressive disciplinary plan for what is deemed, “CELL PHONE OFFENSES,” and states the following:
“If students are caught with a cell phone, the phone will be taken and given to the administrator in charge along with a write-up,” said the handbook.
High school administrators also follow a progressive discipline plan for students when necessary.
“We understand parents want kids to have phones to be accessible and reachable before and after school,” said Todd Miller, assistant principal and athletic director at , “The best scenario for kids is before entering school, turn them off and leave them in their lockers or their cars if they drive.”
While it varies school to school, high school administrators also allow teachers to use the cell phone as a teaching tool at their discretion.
“Kids are so technologically savvy, we are silly not to take advantage of that,” said another
“Sometimes, teachers let students use phones for class projects as they can access the internet faster on their phones.”
While some elementary school students, particularly sixth graders, have cell phones to leave at home, their students have other “no-no” items to avoid bringing to school as well.
“Heelys, those shoes with wheels, and rolling book bags are not allowed on campuses due to walking safety issues,” said Principal Tammy Sandell.
Elementary schools also have a no-gum policy and request healthy snacks be sent with students rather than sugary ones. Many schools even offer a healthy snack list on their school websites.
Sandell also shared that some trendy items, like Silly Bandz, are limited at the teachers’ discretion.
“Teachers have control of what happens in their classroom,” said Sandell who explained that teachers determine classroom rules with such items unless it becomes a school-wide problem.
Such is the case at Sequoyah High School which has a standing, “No Back-Pack” policy, a policy that originated with founding principal, Doe Kirkland, one that current principal, Elliot Berman, has continued for school safety, Miller said.
One of the most common concerns of school administrators is dress code violations, particularly during warm weather months.
On every Cherokee County School website, elementary, middle and high school, by clicking on the “About” link from the left-hand menu, students and parents can find and review the Cherokee County School District Dress Code in the parent-student handbook.
This information is also on the main page for Cherokee County Schools.
The same Dress Code Statement appears for all three levels of students, elementary, middle, and high school students:
“The purpose of a dress code is to promote an orderly learning environment in our schools while preparing all students for later success in the world of work. This dress code was developed through the direction of the Superintendent and with the cooperation of parents, students, teachers, and administrators.”
The declaration continues with justification for the code:
“Students of the Cherokee County School District are expected to dress in a manner that is conducive to a good learning environment. The administration reserves the right to determine if items of clothing are too casual, too revealing, or too distracting for school dress”
That being the case, it might be best to look at what items to avoid altogether.
Every school lists a quite specific “Not Approved for School Wear” list and includes the following banned attire:
- Pants that touch the ground or floor;
- Wide legged pants, skin-tight pants; form-fitting clothing;
- Holes or patches above the knee;
- Pants, dresses, skirts, and shirts that have frayed ends;
- See-through clothing;
- Sleeveless shirts, blouses, without appropriate (tight-fitting) armholes;*
- Deep-scooped necklines;
- Clothing that shows the bare midriff, bare back or the bare shoulders;
- Pajamas, bedroom shoes, or other sleep wear;
- Articles of clothing which advertise or display the symbols of drugs, tobacco products or alcoholic beverages;
- Clothing which displays or implies profane or obscene language or symbols;
- Emblems, insignias, badges, tattoos or other symbols where the effect thereof is to unreasonably attract the attention of other students or cause disruption or interference with the operation of the school;
- Hats, sunglasses and caps are not to be worn in the school building unless approved for special occasions. (All hats and caps shall be properly stored during the school day).
- Chains hanging from wallets or clothing;
- Exposure of undergarments of any type;
- Visible piercing type jewelry or paraphernalia (other than the ears) including tongue piercing is not allowed;
- Display or wearing of any gang articles, paraphernalia or clothing that can be construed as being gang related (e.g., bandanas, sweat bands, head rags, etc.);
- Jewelry that is offensive, distracts or is studded or pointed is unacceptable. Heavy chains are not allowed.
As always, it’s important that students do have a plan of organization, a method for keeping track of assignments, and an ample supply of school materials, paper, pens, pencils and any other required materials to be ready to learn, including a solid set of sneakers for P.E. class.
Elementary schools list supply list for each grade on their websites, but middle and high school students might need to wait until they meet their teachers to find out just what is needed for each particular class before purchasing supplies.
Summer is not over yet, but school is right around the corner, and it’s never too early to be prepared for a “cool” year.