Archived Story

Parents upset over HCPS policy

Published 10:59am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WINTON – For the second straight meeting the Hertford County Board of Education received public input about its uniform policy.

Six parents spoke during the meeting to discuss their belief that the policy should be changed or abolished.

School Board Chairman David L. Shields began the public input period by reminding those in attendance of the policy for public input. The board’s policy includes allowing three minutes per speaker and a total of 15 minutes for public input.

He then called on Darryl Ireland, a parent who protested the uniform policy last week in a peaceful demonstration near the Hertford County High School property.

Ireland said he did not like the examination the uniform policy caused students.

“I don’t believe our children should ever be subjected to the scrutiny that this uniform policy imposes on them,” he said. “Our individualities and freedoms of expression are a few of the many things that have made this country what it is today.”

Ireland said he understood the need for a dress code, but did not like it limiting hair color, hair style, jewelry, makeup and tattoos.

“When we restrict our freedoms in order to protect them, we’ve already lost,” he closed.

Carolyn Mitchell expressed dual concerns. One was that the school bus had not picked up her child at her home since the beginning of school.

“I also don’t understand why there is a dress code because kids should be able to wear what they want to school,” Mitchell said.

Shawanda Harmon said she didn’t have as much a problem with the uniform code as she did with the enforcement of it.

“I don’t have a problem too much (with the policy), but y’all are taking it too far as far the logos,” she said. “If you have to come up to a child and say you have American Eagle or Polo or Aeropostale, you can’t wear that shirt no more; you have to white it out or color it in.

“As long as you have the colors on, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue,” she said.

Harmon said the same thing was true for shoes. She said the students were being pulled from class because of the trivial uniform policy violations.

“I have a problem with that because you take away from the education level as far as my child,” she said.

Harmon said she was upset about being called from work because of what she termed “minor” violations of the uniform code.

Sandra Nichols then spoke and said the teacher picked up the bottom of the shoe of a kindergarten student and sent them to the office because of a logo that couldn’t be seen.

“Then I had a principal – I’m not saying any principal’s name – not the high school, I’ve talked to Mr. Futrell and it is not him, made the comment that it’s the parent’s fault because they sent the child to school like that” Nichols said. “She told me standing right there in that hall it was our fault because we sent the child to school with these symbols on.”

Nichols said she had one child to graduate last year and another in the eleventh grade and that they had worn the same clothes and it had not been a problem in the past.

Alexander Wright spoke and suggested the board turn over the dress code to parents and students.

“I know you have a lot on your agenda – budgets, school safety; so I came up with the idea what about y’all just turn the school policy for dress code over to parents and kids,” Wright said. “The parents are going out and buying the uniforms and the kids have to wear them so why not let the parents who are buying them and the kids who are wearing them decide what to wear to school.”

He said there were people signing petitions to either abolish the uniform policy or change it.

The final speaker of the evening was Beth Holt, who said she thought the economy should be considered with the uniform policy.

“We all live here and I’m sure you all feel the problems of the economy that it’s not real good right now,” she said. “When we’re having to spend money on buying uniforms, spending money on everyday clothing outside of school and then spend money on church clothes as well. It gets expensive.

“I don’t consider myself as less fortunate as somebody else,” she continued. “I feel like my situation is pretty good compared to somebody else’s.”

Holt also said the policy was “nit-picked” and had gotten “outrageous.”

Shields thanked all those who came to the board with their concerns.

“This is your school board,” he said. “You have a right to say what you want to say within reason. I personally appreciate the way everyone conducted themselves. It says a lot about the Democratic policy we have in this country.”

Shields also invited the audience to stay and hear the report on uniforms that was later in the agenda.

  • Marysgirl

    I agree with the dress code policy as it is but it appears that parents are more concerned over the dress code than they are over the sexual behavior of Mr. Gatling. Trying to sell jobs for sex to students is a major violation of the law and should be delt with accordingly.

    Suggest Removal

  • skippy1975

    I ment to say aren’t cheap for parents.

    Suggest Removal

  • skippy1975

    Uniforms are cheap when parents have to pull money out their pockets,and I think that the school system should should be the ones that pay or furnish the uniforms. When I was in school we didn’t have to worry about uniforms as long we wore the clothing like we were suppose to. For example, we couldn’t wear shirts that had a picture of beer or drug signs on them. We had to wear our pants or shorts at a certain length. We couldn’t wear caps or hats in class. I believe these policies are getting out of line. Give the parents and students a break.As long as the student succeeds and not get into trouble in school that’s all it counts.

    Suggest Removal

  • 1tomcat

    This is the QUESTION why are the parents upset?????? Answer is so very simple. Parents buy the clothes that the uniform policy calls for and the kids wear them to school. Kids stay in school and learn. Parents are not bothered by schools asking them to come get their kids dues to improper worn clothes and taking precious teachers time from teaching. So in my opinion you as parents let your kids pick out the clothes to wear knowing they are not in code then quit writing excuses for your self and kids go buy the right clothes. You are the “PARENT” not your kids telling you what they are going to wear or do. I am almost sure each student asked about the clothes they wear to school are the same ones telling their parents what they are going to wear. See how simple this is follow the rules no one has a problem and if you do not follow the rules you are the “PROBLEM”!!!!!!!!!

    Suggest Removal

  • y-me

    you couldn’t have validated my point any better 1TOMCAT. your doubts however are wrong. iv’e actually stood there while at least 20 each day that i was there, were sent home and thats just at the high school. the number for the whole county is probably higher than i claim.

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  • 1tomcat

    Y-ME if kids are not trusted enough to dress themselves to uniform policy then the LAZY PARENTS have no one to blame but themselves. I doubt if 50-100 kids are sent home every day due to not following dress code guidelines. Schools are not PARENTS for the way kids come to schools. So make parents responsible for their kids actions and let the teachers do their job and teach. Teachers are not hired to be UNIFORM POLICE. When some kids refuse to conform to a school policy it takes time away from kids that want a education.

    Suggest Removal

  • NorthStar


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  • y-me

    you left out the part where they took NO ACTION and said they’d take up the matter in JANUARY. which enraged all the parents. schools are continuing to kick out between 50 and 100 students EVERYDAY. Sadistic justice to say the least.

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