HCPS adopts uniform policy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2006

WINTON – Hertford County students, get ready for uniforms.

The Hertford County Board of Education unanimously approved a motion Monday night to implement a uniform policy for the students of Hertford County Public Schools for the upcoming 2006-2007 school year.

The board read and discussed the uniform policy for the third time during an open meeting and passed the measure with little fanfare, although two concerned parents voiced their displeasure with the policy during the public comment period of the meeting.

“We will begin sending additional letters to parents about the uniform policy,” Hertford County Superintendent of Schools Dennis Deloatch said. “The school system will begin to communicate with principals and schools all information concerning the policy, including general guidelines for the implementation.

“We will be putting information in the schools about the uniforms,” Deloatch said. “There will be samples or at least pictures (of uniforms designs) at the schools.”

“A safe and disciplined learning environment is the first requirement of a good school and I feel that implementing school uniforms will be a positive move toward helping our young people achieve higher goals both academically and socially,” Deloatch emphasized. “We need all the support we can get from our parents.”

Serious discussion of the uniform policy began in 2005 when Deloatch and school administrators began to develop the potential policy and discuss the advantages of uniforms. Community forums were held throughout the county during January of this year in order to receive input from parents and students regarding the plan. Flyers and surveys were also sent home from the schools with the students concerning the idea and the school system modeled potential uniforms at Hertford County Middle School and at Hertford County High School during February.

The board and school administrators developed a uniform policy that includes in-depth descriptions of uniforms, including colors and types of shirts, pants, shorts, skirts and shoes students will be allowed to wear as well as the benefits of uniforms and a list of compliance measures.

Each school will also develop incentives and positive reinforcement measures to encourage compliance with the uniform policy and schools will only result to disciplinary measures when positive measures fail to ensure compliance. Schools will communicate with parents so expectations, rationale and benefits are fully understood by the student and his/her family.

“Wearing uniforms will help minimize disruptive behavior, promote respect for teachers and fellow students, build group spirit, school pride and increase school attendance,” Deloatch said earlier.

“It also helps schools maintain academic standards through uniformity, ease the strain on parental budgets, de-emphasize socio-economic differences and allow for easy identification of intruders on campus.

“Studies show a direct correlation of higher student academic performance and fewer discipline referrals when students are attired in uniforms,” Deloatch said.

Deloatch added that school administrators have been in contact with local vendors about the uniforms and the need to stock the necessary items for the upcoming school year.