School Board respondsPublished 9:14am Thursday, September 27, 2012
WINTON – Hertford County Public Schools took dual steps to answer the concerns of parents about uniforms.
Nearly half a dozen parents spoke to the board in August with concerns about the uniform policy and also the availability of uniforms. Several returned Monday night and they were joined by a few more to again speak about the policy.
Following the public input, the board heard a report from Director of Federal Programs Kathy Artis regarding the accessibility of uniforms. Artis said personnel within the district had met with all local businesses that supply uniform items.
“We wanted to share some of our findings as we had meetings with some of our local vendors here in Hertford County,” Artis said.
She said they visited the stores as well as holding a meeting at which they asked vendors to bring items they had to sell.
“We talked with the vendors because we wanted to hear what they had to say and what they had to offer because we are concerned with the concerns of our parents,” Artis said.
She said one of the things they learned is that many of the local stores order early. Artis said they also usually get only one big shipment in each year.
Artis said Wal-Mart and Belk particularly suggested shopping at the right times because their clothing is seasonal. For example, the time to shop for fall is summer and early fall. By October those stores will begin stocking winter items.
Some of the information provided indicated Wal-Mart still has some uniform pieces such as tops, bottoms, coats, belts and some shoes. The Variety Shop in Rich Square offers new and slightly used uniform clothing.
Sportrax reported having shoes, but that they purchase their items 18 months in advance and they go quickly.
The Latest Fashion in Ahoskie carries sizes from small to extra large and allows preordering.
Belk has some items left and Family Dollar has belts, some tops and bottoms and shoes available.
Artis said online availability was also an option. According to the information provided, parts of uniforms can be ordered at www.jcpenney.com, ww.marcusuniforms.com, www.searsschooluniforms.com, and www.thechildrenswearoutlet.com.
The school district worked with local vendors to be available at PTA and PTSO meetings as well as at the FBLA Extravaganza held at Hertford County Middle School on Sept. 15. They were also available at the Hertford County High School varsity football game on Sept. 14.
“In conclusion, there is some availability of uniforms,” Artis said. “Sometimes it is a matter of what we wish to purchase and the time we purchase them.”
Following the report, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael D. Perry said he wanted to address participation as well as availability.
“From the administration we propose the following: a committee will be set up comprised of a parent from each school, an administrator from each school and a district individual to review the student dress code,” Dr. Perry said. “This committee will meet in late January or early March to bring recommendations to the Superintendent. Recommendations will be forwarded to the board for their consideration.”
Board member J. Wendell Hall made a motion to accept the recommendation and Vice Chair Sheila J. Porter offered a second.
Board member Dennis M. Deloatch said he supported the motion.
“In light of the concerns that have come to this board from parents, I certainly support the motion and recommendation,” he said. “I think it is encouraging to give parents an opportunity to have input. We’re not saying there will be change, but parents need to have input. Students should have input.”
The board then voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.