School uniform policy discussed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2005

RICH SQUARE – A lively discussion.

That was what members of the Northampton County Board of Education incited when they discussed the possibility of imposing a new school uniform policy.

Without getting into much detail, the board stated that the administration contacted other school systems that had school uniform policies and school uniforms in an attempt to create an environment that would impact education in a positive fashion.

Tired of &uot;seeing pants hanging down off students’ waists, exposed belly buttons and blouses wide open,&uot; board member Charles Tyner said he believed the uniform policy was worthy of consideration.

&uot;It’s a process,&uot; said retiring Northampton County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. James Pickens. &uot;It can’t be done overnight.&uot;

According to an information paper provided by the administration, discussions with school systems both in state and out of state have emphasized the importance of transitioning to school uniforms, noting the change as a slow one as opposed to a decision or a mandate.

The paper also claimed that the transition would &uot;definitely contribute to increased student achievement and contribute to providing students a holistic education&uot; and encouraged a consensus of support from stakeholders in the students’ overall education.

Pickens cautioned the board to consider the implications of a new uniform policy, asking whether or not they had given thought to making teachers wear them too.

Defending the current policy regarding clothing, Pickens stated that if the administration worked cooperatively to enforce the current dress code, the proposed uniform policy might not have to be implemented.

Board Chair Catherine Moody agreed, stating that all the schools existing policies needed to be enforced.

In addition to brainstorming the proposed policy and surveying other schools’ policies regarding the matter, the administration has compiled its research into a power point presentation, developed a flyer for public information, created a scheduled of public forums to disseminate additional information as well as receive input from the community and parents.

It has also developed a list of positive outcomes resulting from the implementation of school uniforms, created a list of potential vendors and surveyed all the school staffs for their opinion.

All the information needed for the board to make its decision is scheduled to be delivered by the administration no later than May.