New jeans day policy cramps groups’ fundraising style

Friday rule brings more consistency, but less money for many ROMS organizations


Madison Kirby

Megan O’Neal, Emma Eguia, and Brooke O’Neal make an anti-bullying poster in Ruth Ryan’s class. Some students and staff have been unhappy with the new jeans policy this year, which only allows jeans on Fridays.

Courtney Jackson and Lindsey Barrientez, In-depth reporters

It’s Friday, and students are roaming the hallways clad in maroon-and-white spirit shirts and their favorite attire: jeans.

It seems like a small thing, but for students and staff at Red Oak Middle School, squeezing a little bit of comfort into the dress code has big benefits. In a survey of 100 students and staff, 96 indicated they want to return to the policy of years past, in which they could wear jeans more than just once a week.

While the policy was changed this school year to make every Friday a jeans day, it also limited the ability of school clubs and organizations to use jeans as part of fundraising efforts, and for administrators to use jeans as a reward for students and staff.

More and more school-related organizations are having trouble fundraising and rewarding good behavior/grades now that jeans day passes have been taken away.

Student Council is one of the main organizations that has been struggling with fundraising. In the past, the organization would fundraise by having students donate $1 for a jeans pass on designated days.

“Usually on a pay-to-wear jeans day, we can make $200 to $300,” Student Council adviser Ruth Ryan said. “But this year, we had to do hats and shirts, and we only made $103. So we did come out shorter.”

Now the council is having to become more creative with their fundraising in order to find ways to motivate students. They continue to charge $1 for entrance into student vs. teacher game days. As Ryan mentioned, they have also charged $2 this year for sports jersey and hat days.

“Since jeans are allowed every Friday, we [the student council] have to think of ways to add on to wearing jeans,” Student Council President Manuel Zamora said. “We have to make improvements with the new changes this year.”

ROMS theatre and Haddit sponsor Katrina Keener also said the policy has hurt fundraising for her program. In the past, charging students and staff $1 to wear jeans helped both programs raise money. This year, Keener said she has not raised nearly as many funds.

“It’s more challenging, especially when we do our fundraisers,” Keener said. “With different charities that we sponsor, jeans days were always a big push because we would get a lot more money coming in. Now we don’t have that anymore  … so it’s really a challenge.”

ROMS Principal Cristi Watts has encouraged the organizations to think outside the box to raise more money.

“The policy has made fundraising more difficult, but if you are creative, you can still raise the funds needed,” Watts said.

In addition to fundraising, students have also felt the impact of fewer jeans days.The survey showed 85 out of 100 ROMS students don’t feel comfortable while wearing dress code pants. In the past, students and staff were often allowed to wear jeans during pep rally or testing days, which made many feel more comfortable.

“It’s important to feel comfortable and to look and feel confident in your favorite pair of jeans,” 8th grader Bridget McPeek said.

Many staff members also look forward to wearing jeans on Friday because they get the benefit of wearing tennis shoes as well.

“Wearing jeans to me means we are more comfortable, and, for whatever reason, teachers are less stressed,” instructional coach Jennifer Fortenberry said. “But being a Red Oak ISD mom, I think this policy is easier because I know when my kids can go to school wearing jeans or dress code pants. There used to be days where we had different jeans days; now they’re all the same.”