RUMFORD – The dress code at Mountain Valley High School is outlined in the student handbook. It can be found by downloading the handbook at the school’s website,

Principal Matt Gilbert and Assistant Principal Al Cayer recently explained the dress code to students during separate assemblies first for girls and then for boys.

At the girls’ assembly, Gilbert explained and Cayer nodded his agreement, “Us male adults aren’t comfortable talking to you about how you dress. But I want you to know what the expectations are. I will talk to the boys tomorrow. I don’t have the same issues with boys, like wearing short shorts.”

“At school, we need to create an atmosphere of respect. We want you to demonstrate your respect for your own body and your respect for others around you. I know you probably don’t know this but boys do get distracted by what you girls wear,” Gilbert said with a smile.

Gilbert explained that the policy originated with the school board. “Our board policy is much more realistic than other schools. Check out other schools online. At some schools, you have to have a natural hair color. Other schools say no pajama bottoms. Some public school students have to wear a uniform. Still others say shorts and skirts have to be at the top of the knees.”

The first rule is no midriff shirts. “This is not as big an issue as 10 years ago when Brittany Spears showed a lot of her midriff and it was hard to find long shirts. Simply put, make sure that your shirt meets your pants,” Gilbert said. “Today’s problem is more on the other end of the shirt. At least a one-inch shirt strap should cover your bra strap. Save the spaghetti straps for outside of school. If you have shirts that show too much, bring a sweatshirt to cover yourself.”

The second rule is shorts and skirts must be mid-thigh. Gilbert said, “When you are standing up straight, your shorts and skirts should be at least to the palm of your hand or beginning of your fingers.”

Showing his lack of knowledge of female apparel, Gilbert continued, “I think you call them pencil skirts. I call them creepy-crawly skirts – you know the ones that ride up all day. Please put leggings on underneath these skirts. That’s respecting yourself.”

Gilbert continued, “Leggings are okay as long as there’s a skirt or shorts over them.”

The girls questioned Gilbert about yoga pants. He responded, “Yoga pants – right now, no. But I’m working with the student council for suggestions and leadership. Remember I’m a guy. I don’t know the difference between yoga pants and leggings.”

The third rule is no ripped or torn clothing that exposes any body part from shoulder to mid-thigh.

The girls raised several questions to clarify Gilbert’s expectations.

“Ladies, the student council will work on clarifying the expectations. Please ask them to bring it up in their next meeting,” Gilbert said.

The next day, Gilbert and Cayer addressed the boys. Gilbert began, “Yesterday, I talked to the girls about the dress code. Today, I find it easier to talk to you. I’m going to talk about what applies to you. When you read the dress code, you probably laughed. None of you have problems with showing midriff or wearing short skirts.”

The fourth rule is no hats. “How many of you have become accustomed to wearing a hat all summer,” Gilbert queried.

All the boys raised their hands. Gilbert remarked that he wore a hat most of the summer as he played with his kids and mowed the lawn.

“Now you have to become accustomed to a different set of expectations,” Gilbert explained. “No hats in school from when you enter the building until 2:20 p.m. It’s OK after school hours. The no hat rule develops a professional expectation.”

The fifth rule is no clothing with a questionable message.

Gilbert clarified, “This rule is about respect. T-shirts can’t be disrespectful to women or glorify drinking or drugs. Keep those T-shirts at home. When you come to school with questionable messages on your T-shirt and we ask you to take it off, don’t give us a bunch of back talk. You’ve been warned!”

Finally, Cayer demonstrated proper attire by turning his back to the audience. “Even though I’m wearing boxers, you don’t see them.”

Cayer continued, “Yesterday, we asked the girls not to see their undergarments. So we don’t need to see yours.”

The assembly ended with laughter. One boy asked, “Can we wear yoga pants?”

Gilbert quipped, “Only if you can tell me the difference between yoga pants and leggings and only if you wear a skirt or shorts over them.”

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