School uniform policy now in effect

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 23, 2007

Last year, Northampton County Public Schools implemented a uniform policy for their elementary and middle schools.

In August, for the upcoming school year, the high schools will follow suit.

Hertford County Public Schools also put a school uniform policy in place for their schools.

They implemented the policy for the elementary, middle and high schools at the same time last year.

According to Susie B. Johnson, director of community/school relations and student services in Northampton County, the Northampton County Board of Education, this past spring, voted for the high schools to enforce a uniform policy.

Johnson added that there was a committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators and students who met and tweaked a few of the uniform descriptions from the elementary and middle school policy.

For example, instead of saying students must wear polo shirts, the description was changed to polo style shirts. Students are allowed to wear either navy or white shirts and they must have sleeves.

The shirts must be polo style, turtleneck or either a white collared blouse or shirt.

Students can wear navy or khaki pants, capris or gauchos.

If those pants have belt loops, then the student must wear a black, brown or navy belt at the waist.

Skirts, shorts, skorts or jumpers in navy or khaki can also be worn.

All of these items can be no shorter than two inches above the middle of the knee.

Pants must have no more than six pockets and must be worn at regular length.

No baggy, saggy or tight fitting pants are allowed and absolutely no jeans can be worn to school.

Hooded sweatshirts, sweatpants or pajama pants are also not permissable to wear.

Light outerwear, such as sweatshirts, vests and sweaters can be worn with the basic school uniform.

All of these items must be school uniform colors.

Also, the polo collar or turtleneck must be visible.

No pictures, logos, names or captions are allowed to be on any of the students’ clothing.

In Northampton County, shoes must be predominately black and they must be slip on, tennis shoes, clogs, mules or oxford style.

All shoes must be laced and tied.

Steel toe shoes, cleats, bedroom shoes, high heels or flip flops are not allowed.

Also all socks must be solid navy, white or black.

According to Johnson, the Board of Education feels as though the dress code has been successful in the elementary and middle schools.

She also added that the input from principals about the implementation of the uniforms has been positive.

She said the uniform policy raises children’s self esteem because it puts them all on the same playing field.

They also pay more attention to academics than to dress.

Johnson said in Northampton County the teachers have been wearing uniforms too, although they are not required to do so.

They feel as though it helps promote the uniform policy with the students.

Johnson added that the uniforms also eliminate gang dress, improve academics and are economical for parents.

Clara Ann Baker, public information officer for Hertford County schools, echoed Johnson’s sentiments about the importance of uniforms.

Baker said research shows that uniforms help increase school safety, reduce discipline problems, promote respect, build group spirit and group pride, increase attendance and help maintain academic standards.

For Hertford County students, the shirts must be white, navy, gold or yellow polo style shirts.

Baker stressed that all clothes must be plain and free of graphics and logos.

Students must remember that no undergarments, shoulders or midriffs can be visible and all shirts should be tucked in.

Students can wear navy, khaki, or black pants, capris, gauchos, skirts, shorts or jumpers.

Again the shorts, skirts and jumpers must be no shorter than two inches above the middle of the knee.

In the spring, the board amended the footwear policy for Hertford County schools and decided all shoes must be solid black.

Baker said that parents can buy the uniforms at most any local retailer and the school systems do not promote any certain company.

She said people had mixed feelings about the uniforms in the beginning but most like the policy now because they see how the uniforms have improved certain situations.

Baker also added that any new policy has bugs and glitches, but hopefully they are working those out and are getting ready for a good upcoming school year.