Uni­forms may be re­quired

Mid­dle Ridge prin­ci­pal pro­poses new dress code

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Josh Briggs

Mid­dle Ridge El­e­men­tary stu­dents may have a whole new look next year, at least as far as their clothes go.

Mid­dle Ridge Prin­ci­pal Karen Crow­der gave a pre­sen­ta­tion at Board of Ed­u­ca­tion work ses­sion meet­ing Tues­day and asked for the mem­bers to con­sider im­ple­ment­ing a uni­form dress code for 2008-2009.

If ap­proved, the plan would re­quire Mid­dle Ridge stu­dents to wear shorts, skirts or plain pants in navy, blue or black, and plain T- shirts in the same col­ors with the ad­di­tion of white. The short and skirt length must fall be­low the fin­ger­tips.

Sur­veys to gauge in­ter­est in 2007 re­vealed the ma­jor­ity of the re­spon­dents were against the change.

But, ac­cord­ing to her pre­sen­ta­tion, that sen­ti­ment has changed. Af­ter pre-

sent­ing the idea to the PTO, sub­se­quent sur­veys have come back in fa­vor of the dress code.

“ It’s chal­leng­ing to get replies to votes at our school,” Crow­der said. “ But we’ve been per­sis­tent in try­ing to get ev­ery­one the in­for­ma­tion and have a voice in this mat­ter.”

Fic­quett, Por­terdale and Heard- Mixon el­e­men­tary schools cur­rently im­pose a sim­i­lar dress code.

Ac­cord­ing to Fic­quett Prin­ci­pal Miriam Wilkins, who was a teacher eight years ago when the school started their uni­form pro­gram, the stu­dents fo­cus on school rather than what they look like.

“ They aren’t show­ing off their shoes or their clothes all the time,” she said. “ The kids don’t have to worry about what they are go­ing to wear ev­ery­day and they don’t waste time show­ing off their new clothes. Kids want to look the same.”

Still, not ev­ery par­ent jumps on board and the school has its oc­ca­sional stu­dent who bucks the sys­tem. But Wilkins says those in­stances are few and far be­tween.

“ We have a few chil­dren who come in on a daily ba­sis and don’t wear the ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing,” she added. “ We even have had some par­ents choose to with­draw their stu­dents be­cause the par­ents don’t want to con­form.

“ But for the most part, we don’t have any prob­lems.”

Board mem­ber C. C. Bates ac­knowl­edged that the BOE has fielded com­plaints from par­ents in schools who cur­rently im­pose the dress code.

“ I have re­ceived phone calls from par­ents at Fic­quett who are re­quired to send their kids to school in uni­forms and don’t want to,” Bates said. “ I think it’s a great thing and I wish ev­ery­one was wear­ing uni­forms, but I just won­der where the rub­ber hits the road if we adopt this.”

Su­per­in­ten­dent Steven What­ley also un­der­stands some par­ents are con­cerned with dress codes.

“ Is there sup­port of this among our par­ents?” he asked. “ It goes to the heart of the ques­tion of whether there is sup­port for the pro­gram.”

What­ley added that any prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with the dress code are han­dled at the school level.

“ We have nor­mally said, any dis­sention or con­cern ex­pressed about the dress code goes to the school coun­cil as stated in the hand­book,” he said. “ Those is­sues are dealt with at the school.”

Ac­cord­ing to Crow­der, some par­ents are con­cerned with the idea of buy­ing new clothes for their chil­dren.

But she says her plan gives new stu­dents a grace pe­riod and calls on do­na­tions to help sub­si­dize the ex­penses.

As an in­cen­tive, Crow­der says the plan will al­low stu­dents, who meet cer­tain goals or re­quire­ments, to wear clothes of their choice on cer­tain days. Sim­i­lar in­cen­tives have proven suc­cess­ful at Fic­quett.

In­tro­duc­ing a dress code will un­doubt­edly take some con­vinc­ing, but Crow­der says she has a plan to set par­ents and stu­dents at ease.

“ We would mail out fly­ers and in­for­ma­tion to in­form par­ents first,” Crow­der said. “ We also en­cour­age other par­ents to talk to one an­other to en­cour­age ev­ery­one’s par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“ We would have a fash­ion show at our school to let the chil­dren see what they look like as well as in­vite our com­mu­nity stores to have them there at our open house and end of the year days to get the in­for­ma­tion out to en­cour­age the plan.”

Ul­ti­mately, Crow­der be­lieves the ben­e­fits of a uni­form dress code out­weigh the costs and hopes the par­ents and com­mu­nity jump on­board.

“ We feel like if the stu­dents wear the same clothes, they won’t tease each other about what they’re wear­ing,” she said. “ It won’t be so easy to dis­tin­guish be­tween the stu­dent’s back­ground and that’s im­por­tant too.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.