HCPS parents question shoe policy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2006

WINTON – Monday night the Hertford County School Board met for the first time since school opened on August 26.

The main issue of the night was a discussion between parents of children in the public school system and board members concerning the color scheme of footwear worn by children the first day of school.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Mary Jo Allen said that she was aware of several students who were deemed to be non-compliant with the school system’s new uniform policy because stitching in some students shoes was not in accordance with the new dress code.

Penny Brown brought in a pair of brown ‘deck shoes’ that she said her child wore to school the first day that caused her child to be sent home.

&uot;I like many other parents are really trying to be compliant,&uot; Brown said. &uot;The shoe issue needs to be clarified a little more, especially when it comes to stitching.&uot;

Brown suggested school officials consider bringing in a ‘uniform company’ to help set the guidelines.

Carolyn Mathis attended the meeting with her son, a student at Riverview Elementary School, to inquire about ‘scouts’ uniforms.

&uot;It has always been a tradition that the (cub) scouts wear their uniforms on Friday,&uot; Mathis said to the board. &uot;I’d like to know whether or not the uniform policy will interrupt that tradition.&uot;

Allen explained to the parents that she and other local school officials were meeting on Wednesday to iron out some of the complexities of shoe concerns and other uniform related issues.

In other board news:

Several new employees were introduced to the approximate 80 people who attended the meeting, including the new principals from Riverview Elementary (Patty Hardy), Hertford County Middle School (Carson Watford) and Hertford County High School (Jerry Simmons).

Simmons was incorrectly identified in an earlier report by this newspaper as the former Director of Transportation of Northampton County Schools when in fact he held that position in the Weldon City School system.

Awards were given to Vanessa Peters and Lewis Bowser for their accomplishments in Ames Iowa at the Special Olympics National Games.

Peters won gold medals in the 200-meter run and the 4×100 meter relay, as well as a silver medal in the running long jump.

Bowser captured the silver medal in the standing long jump and finished fourth overall in the 50 meter run.

Rev. Patrick Young gave certificates to members of the Hertford County Public Schools’ Finance Department acknowledging their recognition for &uot;Achievement in Financial Resource Management&uot;.

The award was presented to the department for managing to have no audit exceptions for certified personnel paid from state or federal funds and for having no position or months of employment allotment exceptions.

Finance Director Cindy Martin was present to receive the award along with Katrina Williams, Lorie Merritt, Carolyn White and Linda Eure, all employees of the finance department.

The board took time at the close of the meeting to give their individual assessments of the current school year.

&uot;I was pleased with what I saw on the first day of school,&uot; board member J. Wendell Hall said. &uot;Now that we gotten the attention off the ‘bling-bling’, we can get back to educating.&uot;

Board members Young and John D. Horton both recounted positive responses they had received from parents and students.

Ronald G. Baker reiterated the sentiments of his fellow board members.

&uot;I am happy with the effect the uniform policy is having on our students,&uot; Baker stated. &uot;Once we get this stitching ‘glitch’ out of the way we’ll be fine; I suspect that most of the students like the change.&uot;

Board Chairman David Shields explained to the audience that school officials had met with Howard Lee, Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Education about the directive of Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. for Lee’s department to assist the county in their efforts to improve the education and test scores of students in Hertford County.

In an interview posted on Channel 11 News of Raleigh’s web site, Lee had promised Judge Manning that he would engage Hertford County officials soon after Manning’s assertion that Hertford County was the lone school district in the state that had not made satisfactory progress in its plan to improve conditions in their district.

&uot;They (Hertford County) haven’t put forth as strong an effort as we would like to see,&uot; Lee said. &uot;We can’t afford to keep these kids in a situation where they don’t have a good educational experience.&uot;