Gang-Related Legislation by Subject Index

Gang-Related Clothing, Dress Codes, School Uniforms

California (view all subjects for this state)

California Ed Code § 32282. Comprehensive School Safety Plans; Contents; Disaster Procedures; Development

(a) The comprehensive school safety plan shall include, but not be limited to, both of the following:

(1) Assessing the current status of school crime committed on school campuses and at school-related functions.

(2) Identifying appropriate strategies and programs that will provide or maintain a high level of school safety and address the school's procedures for complying with existing laws related to school safety, which shall include the development of all of the following:

(F) The provisions of any school-wide dress code, pursuant to Section 35183, that prohibits pupils from wearing "gang-related apparel," if the school has adopted that type of a dress code. For those purposes, the comprehensive school safety plan shall define "gang-related apparel." The definition shall be limited to apparel that, if worn or displayed on a school campus, reasonably could be determined to threaten the health and safety of the school environment. Any school-wide dress code established pursuant to this section and Section 35183 shall be enforced on the school campus and at any school-sponsored activity by the principal of the school or the person designated by the principal. For the purposes of this paragraph, "gang-related apparel" shall not be considered a protected form of speech pursuant to Section 48950.

California Ed Code § 35183. Dress Codes and School Uniforms; “Gang-Related Apparel”; Regulations; Free Speech; Notice and Economic Assistance; Noncompliance Option

(a) The Legislature finds and declares each of the following:

(1) The children of this state have the right to an effective public school education. Both students and staff of the primary, elementary, junior and senior high school campuses have the constitutional right to be safe and secure in their persons at school. However, children in many of our public schools are forced to focus on the threat of violence and the messages of violence contained in many aspects of our society, particularly reflected in gang regalia that disrupts the learning environment.

(2) "Gang-related apparel" is hazardous to the health and safety of the school environment.

(3) Instructing teachers and administrators on the subtleties of identifying constantly changing gang regalia and gang affiliation takes an increasing amount of time away from educating our children.

(4) Weapons, including firearms and knives, have become common place upon even our elementary school campuses. Students often conceal weapons by wearing clothing, such as jumpsuits and overcoats, and by carrying large bags.

(5) The adoption of a schoolwide uniform policy is a reasonable way to provide some protection for students. A required uniform may protect students from being associated with any particular gang. Moreover, by requiring schoolwide uniforms teachers and administrators may not need to occupy as much of their time learning the subtleties of gang regalia.

(6) To control the environment in public schools to facilitate and maintain an effective learning environment and to keep the focus of the classroom on learning and not personal safety, schools need the authorization to implement uniform clothing requirements for our public school children.

(7) Many educators believe that school dress significantly influences pupil behavior. This influence is evident on school dressup days and color days. Schools that have adopted school uniforms experience a "coming together feeling," greater school pride, and better behavior in and out of the classroom.

(b) The governing board of any school district may adopt or rescind a reasonable dress code policy that requires pupils to wear a schoolwide uniform or prohibits pupils from wearing "gang-related apparel" if the governing board of the school district approves a plan that may be initiated by an individual school’s principal, staff, and parents and determines that the policy is necessary for the health and safety of the school environment. Individual schools may include the reasonable dress code policy as part of its school safety plan, pursuant to Section 32281.

(c) Adoption and enforcement of a reasonable dress code policy pursuant to subdivision (b) is not a violation of Section 48950. For purposes of this section, Section 48950 shall apply to elementary, high school, and unified school districts. If a schoolwide uniform is required, the specific uniform selected shall be determined by the principal, staff, and parents of the individual school.

(d) A dress code policy that requires pupils to wear a schoolwide uniform shall not be implemented with less than six months’ notice to parents and the availability of resources to assist economically disadvantaged pupils.

(e) The governing board shall provide a method whereby parents may choose not to have their children comply with an adopted school uniform policy.

(f) If a governing board chooses to adopt a policy pursuant to this section, the policy shall include a provision that no pupil shall be penalized academically or otherwise discriminated against nor denied attendance to school if the pupil’s parents chose not to have the pupil comply with the school uniform policy. The governing board shall continue to have responsibility for the appropriate education of those pupils.

(g) A policy adopted pursuant to this section shall not preclude pupils that participate in a nationally recognized youth organization from wearing organization uniforms on days that the organization has a scheduled meeting.

California Ed Code § 35183.5. Articles of Sun-Protective Clothing; Incorporation into Dress Code; Use of Sunscreen by Pupils

(a)(1) Each school site shall allow, for outdoor use during the school day, articles of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to, hats.

(2) Each school site may set a policy related to the type of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to, hats, that pupils will be allowed to use outdoors pursuant to paragraph (1). Specific clothing and hats determined by the school district or school site to be gang-related or inappropriate apparel may be prohibited by the dress code policy.

Iowa (view all subjects for this state)

Iowa § 279.58. School Dress Code Policies

1. The general assembly finds and declares that the students and the administrative and instructional staffs of Iowa’s public schools have the right to be safe and secure at school. Gang-related apparel worn at school draws attention away from the school’s learning environment and directs it toward thoughts or expressions of violence, bigotry, hate, and abuse.

2. The board of directors of a school district may adopt, for the district or for an individual school within the district, a dress code policy that prohibits students from wearing gang-related or other specific apparel if the board determines that the policy is necessary for the health, safety, or positive educational environment of students and staff in the school environment or for the appropriate discipline and operation of the school. Adoption and enforcement of a dress code policy is not a violation of section 280.22.

Minnesota (view all subjects for this state)

Minnesota § 604.12. Restrictions on Denying Access to Places of Public Accommodation; Civil Actions

Subdivision 1. Definitions.

As used in this section:

(1) "place of public accommodation" has the meaning given in section 363A.03, subdivision 34, but excludes recreational trails;

(2) "criminal gang" has the meaning given in section 609.229, subdivision 1; and

(3) "obscene" has the meaning given in section 617.241, subdivision 1.

Subd. 2. Prohibition.

(a) A place of public accommodation may not restrict access, admission, or usage to a person solely because the person operates a motorcycle or is wearing clothing that displays the name of an organization or association.

(b) This subdivision does not prohibit the restriction of access, admission, or usage to a person because:

(1) the person's conduct poses a risk to the health or safety of another or to the property of another; or

(2) the clothing worn by the person is obscene or includes the name or symbol of a criminal gang.

Subd. 3. Civil cause of action.

A person injured by a violation of subdivision 2 may bring an action for actual damages, punitive damages under sections 549.191 and 549.20 in an amount not to exceed $500, injunctive relief, and reasonable attorney fees in an amount not to exceed $500.

Subd. 4. Violation not a crime.

Notwithstanding section 645.241, a violation of subdivision 2 is not a crime.

Nevada (view all subjects for this state)

Nevada § 392.415. Authorization to Establish Policy of Uniforms for Pupils and Dress Code for Educational Personnel; Financial Assistance for Pupils to Purchase Uniforms

1. The board of trustees of a school district may, in consultation with the schools within the district, parents and legal guardians of pupils who are enrolled in the district, and associations and organizations representing licensed educational personnel within the district, establish a policy that requires pupils to wear school uniforms.

2. The policy must:

(a) Describe the uniforms;

(b) Designate which pupils must wear the uniforms; and

(c) Designate the hours or events during which the uniforms must be worn.

3. If the board of trustees of a school district establishes a policy that requires pupils to wear school uniforms, the board shall facilitate the acquisition of school uniforms for pupils whose parents or legal guardians request financial assistance to purchase the uniforms.

4. The board of trustees of a school district may establish a dress code enforceable during school hours for the teachers and other personnel employed by the board of trustees.

Nevada § 392.4635. Policy for Prohibition of Activities of Criminal Gangs on School Property.

1. The board of trustees of each school district shall establish a policy that prohibits the activities of criminal gangs on school property.

2. The policy established pursuant to subsection 1 may include, without limitation:

(a) the provision of training for the prevention of the activities of criminal gangs on school property.

(b) If the policy includes training:

(1) a designation of the grade levels of the pupils who must receive the training.

(2) a designation of the personnel who must receive the training, including, without limitation, personnel who are employed in schools at the grade levels designated pursuant to subparagraph (1).

The board of trustees of each school district shall ensure that the training is provided to the pupils and personnel designated in the policy.

(c) Provisions which prohibit:

(1) A pupil from wearing any clothing or carrying any symbol on school property that denotes membership in or an affiliation with a criminal gang; and

(2) Any activity that encourages participation in a criminal gang or facilitates illegal acts of a criminal gang.

(d) Provisions which provide for the suspension or expulsion of pupils who violate the policy.

3. The board of trustees of each school district may develop the policy required pursuant to subsection 1 in consultation with:

(a) local law enforcement agencies;

(b) school police officers, if any;

(c) persons who have experience regarding the actions and activities of criminal gangs;

(d) organizations which are dedicated to alleviating criminal gangs or assisting members of criminal gangs who wish to disassociate from the gang; and

(e) any other person deemed necessary by the board of trustees.

4. As used in this section, "criminal gang" has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 213.1263.

New Jersey (view all subjects for this state)

New Jersey § 18A:11-7. Legislative Findings and Declaration

The Legislature finds and declares that many educators believe that school dress can significantly influence pupil behavior and that schools that have adopted dress codes, including dress codes which require school uniforms and which prohibit clothing indicating membership in certain gangs, experience greater school pride and improved behavior in and out of the classroom. The Legislature further finds that to assist in controlling the environment in public schools, to facilitate and maintain an effective learning environment, and to keep the focus of the classroom on learning, school districts should be specifically authorized to implement uniform clothing requirements for their students.

New Jersey § 18A:11-9. Adoption of Dress Code Policy Prohibiting Wearing of Clothing Indicating Membership in Certain Gangs

A board of education may adopt a dress code policy to prohibit students from wearing, while on school property, any type of clothing, apparel or accessory which indicates that the student has membership in, or affiliation with, any gang associated with criminal activities. The local law enforcement agency shall advise the board, upon its request, of gangs which are associated with criminal activities.

Tennessee (view all subjects for this state)

Tennessee § 49-6-4215. Criminal Gang Activity; Rules

(a) The LEAs of this state are hereby authorized to promulgate and adopt rules and regulations to prohibit the activities of criminal gangs on school property. Such rules and regulations may prohibit students in grades six through twelve (6–12) from:

(1) Wearing, while on school property, any type of clothing, apparel or accessory, including that which denotes such students' membership in or affiliation with any criminal gang;

(2) Any activity that encourages participation in a criminal gang or facilitates illegal acts of a criminal gang; and

(3) Any conduct that is seriously disruptive to the educational process or endangers persons or property.

(b) The local law enforcement agency shall advise the local board, upon request, of criminal gangs and associated criminal gang activity.

(c) As used in this section, "criminal gang" means a formal or informal ongoing organization, association, or group consisting of three (3) or more persons that has:

(1) As one (1) of its activities the commission of criminal acts; and

(2) Two (2) or more members who, individually or collectively, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.

Texas (view all subjects for this state)

Texas Edu. Code § 11.162. School Uniforms

(a) The board of trustees of an independent school district may adopt rules that require students at a school in the district to wear school uniforms if the board determines that the requirement would improve the learning environment at the school.

(b) The rules the board of trustees adopts must designate a source of funding that shall be used in providing uniforms for students at the school who are educationally disadvantaged.

(c) A parent or guardian of a student assigned to attend a school at which students are required to wear school uniforms may choose for the student to be exempted from the requirement or to transfer to a school at which students are not required to wear
uniforms and at which space is available if the parent or guardian provides a written statement that, as determined by the board of trustees, states a bona fide religious or philosophical objection to the requirement.

(d) Students at a school at which uniforms are required shall wear the uniforms beginning on the 90th day after the date on which the board of trustees adopts the rules that require the uniforms.

Utah (view all subjects for this state)

Utah § 53A-15-1102. Uniforms in Schools—Legislative Finding—Policies.

(1) The Legislature finds that:

(a) each student should be allowed to learn in a safe environment which fosters the learning process and is free from unnecessary disruptions;

(b) the wearing of certain types of clothing may identify students as members of youth gangs and contribute to disruptive behavior and violence in the schools;

(c) school uniform policies may be part of an overall program to:

(i) improve school safety and discipline; and

(ii) help avoid the disruption of the classroom atmosphere and decorum and prevent disturbances among students; and

(d) school uniforms may:

(i) decrease violence and theft among students; and

(ii) foster and promote desirable school operating conditions and a positive educational environment in accordance with this part.

(2) In accordance with Section 53A-15-1103, a school may adopt a school uniform policy that requires students enrolled at that school to wear a designated school uniform during the school day.

(3) A school uniform policy shall:

(a) protect students' free exercise of religious beliefs;

(b) specify whether the uniform policy is voluntary or mandatory for students;

(c) specify whether or not the uniform policy has an opt-out provision in addition to the provisions under Subsection (5); and

(d) include a provision for financial assistance to families who cannot afford to purchase a required uniform, which may include:

(i) the school providing school uniforms to students;

(ii) the school making used school uniforms available to students; or

(iii) other programs to make school uniforms available to economically disadvantaged students.

(4) A school uniform policy under this part is not considered a fee for either an elementary or a secondary school.

(5) A school uniform policy shall include a provision allowing a principal at any time during the school year to grant an exemption from wearing a school uniform to a student because of extenuating circumstances.

(6) (a) If a school adopts a school uniform policy under this part, that school's governing body or local school board shall adopt local appellate procedures for school actions under this part, including a denial of an exemption requested under Subsection (5).

(b) A person may seek judicial review of an action under this part only after exhausting the remedies provided under this Subsection (6).

Virginia (view all subjects for this state)

Virginia § 22.1-79.2. Uniforms in Public Schools; Board of Education Guidelines

A. The Board of Education shall develop model guidelines for local school boards to utilize when establishing requirements for pupils to wear uniforms. In developing these guidelines, the Board shall consider (i) ways to promote parental and community involvement, (ii) relevant state and federal constitutional concerns, such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and (iii) the ability of pupils to purchase such clothing.

B. Upon approval by the Board of the model guidelines, local school boards may establish requirements, consistent with the Board’s guidelines, for the students enrolled in any of their schools to wear uniforms while in attendance at such school during the regular school day. No state funds may be used for the purchase of school uniforms.

Washington (view all subjects for this state)

Washington § 28A.320.140. Schools With Special Standards—Dress Codes

(1) School district boards of directors may establish schools or programs which parents may choose for their children to attend in which: (a) Students are required to conform to dress and grooming codes, including requiring that students wear uniforms; (b) parents are required to participate in the student's education; or (c) discipline requirements are more stringent than in other schools in the district.

(2) School district boards of directors may establish schools or programs in which: (a) Students are required to conform to dress and grooming codes, including requiring that students wear uniforms; (b) parents are regularly counseled and encouraged to participate in the student's education; or (c) discipline requirements are more stringent than in other schools in the district. School boards may require that students who are subject to suspension or expulsion attend these schools or programs as a condition of continued enrollment in the school district.

(3) If students are required to wear uniforms in these programs or schools, school districts shall accommodate students so that the uniform requirement is not an unfair barrier to school attendance and participation.

(4) Nothing in this section impairs or reduces in any manner whatsoever the authority of a board under other law to impose a dress and appearance code. However, if a board requires uniforms under such other authority, it shall accommodate students so that the uniform requirement is not an unfair barrier to school attendance and participation.

(5) School district boards of directors may adopt dress and grooming code policies which prohibit students from wearing gang-related apparel. If a dress and grooming code policy contains this provision, the school board must also establish policies to notify students and parents of what clothing and apparel is considered to be gang-related apparel. This notice must precede any disciplinary action resulting from a student wearing gang-related apparel.

(6) School district boards of directors may not adopt a dress and grooming code policy which precludes students who participate in nationally recognized youth organizations from wearing organization uniforms on days that the organization has a scheduled activity or prohibit students from wearing clothing in observance of their religion.


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