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Board of Ed approves dress code

Students in the Butler County School System will have less to think about next school year when getting dressed thanks to a new dress code adopted by the Butler County Board of Education Thursday night.

The board voted to approve the new dress policy 3-1, with Billy Jones being the only dissenting voter. Board member Terry Williams was absent from the meeting due to illness.

The new policy, which calls for boys and girls to wear khaki or blue pants (long or short) and long or short sleeve navy or white Polo style shirts was the result of a recommendation by a committee that's been looking in to the policy for more than a year.

"There had been some inquires about looking into school uniforms last year," said Allin Whittle, Assistant Superintendent of Operations for the Butler County School System. "We put together a uniform committee that consisted of administrators and parents and there were some surveys that were done earlier in the year that went out to all the schools. Some of the surveys just went to parents, especially at the elementary schools. At the high schools we got feedback from the students since they were old enough to give their opinion. We also got a lot of parental input."

Whittle said school safety and problems with clothing that is too tight, or too loose, were the main reasons for the policy.

"I have always been in favor of a uniform dress code," said Georgiana High Principal Roland Pettie, who served on the uniform dress committee at his school. "I think it's good. It's going to take the cooperation of everyone involved but I think it will make the administrator's job easier."

Both Pettie and Whittle think it's going to take a team effort to make the policy work.

"I just think we need to approach it in a positive manner," Pettie said. "Very seldom do you get anything that everybody agrees on and likes, but I think it's a positive thing. I hope everyone sees it that way and gives it the benefit of the doubt."

Whittle added "You have to understand everybody is not for uniforms, but we are going to a uniform dress code, which means they have a lot of choices."

In addition to pants and shorts, girls will have the option of wearing khaki skirts and jumpers with white blouses with "Peter Pan" collars. Belts must be black or brown. The committees decided against a uniform policy on shoes, but Whittle said it may be something that has to be addressed in the future. The policy also stipulates that there can be no logos on the clothing.

Several other school districts in the state have adopted uniform dress codes. In Conecuh County, Superintendent of Education Ronnie Brogden said the policy has worked wonders in his school district and for him as a parent.

"It's been very, very successful for us," he said. "It was a blessing for me as a parent. I had two girls go through the schools here and it was easier getting them dressed in the morning."

Brogden said their policy levels the playing field and has led to his students working more as a group than as individuals.

"You eliminate the have's from the have nots," he said. "Our students seem to act more as a group, as a family rather than individuals. It's definitely cheaper too."

He also said the policy has had other positives too, such as a drastic drop in clothing items being stolen and better security.

"The other thing we like too is when you go into a school you can readily identify who the students are so it helps us with the safety issue."

Jones said his only concern was enforcement of the policy.

"I'm not opposed to the uniform dress code," he said. "Whatever we do, and it looks like we're going with this (policy), the dress code has to be carrier through with, completely. Not just at one school. If the rules apply, let them apply to all. If we're not going to enforce it, we might as well not have it."

Whitte said the new policy will put the emphasis where it should be; educating students.

"Discretion is very wide on how short is too short, or how narrow is a strap on a blouse," he said. "Here we hope to rewrite the uniform dress code and we hope to put in some specifics to do away with some of the discretion of sizes and length of wear."

While Whittle said local clothing vendors should have the dress code items in stock by May, the new policy will not go into effect until Aug. 8, the first day of the next school year.

NOTES:

Allin Whittle- asst. superintendent of operations

There had been some inquires about looking into school uniforms. We had put together a uniform committee that consisted of administrators and parents and there were some surveys that were done earlier that went out to all the schools. Some of the surveys just went to parents, especially at the elementary schools. At the high schools Dr. Murphy got feedback from the students since they were old enough to give their opinion. We got a lot of parental input.

You have to understand everybody is not for uniforms, but we are going to a uniform dress code, which means they have a lot of choices.

Schoool safety was one of the issues and the other issues were sagging clothing and clothing that was too tight or too loose.

We'd be able to recognize who is and isn't supposed ot be on campus, especaillys since we have open campuses. It will allow you to walk out and look down the halls and see who isn't supposed to be on campus.

Each school had its own committee and in a work session I chaired all the committees and everybody was for uniforms.

They are away from any one school color and we have one district color. It took a while to do it, to come up with colors that were not the school's colors.

Georgiana- Roland Pettie

Greenville Middle- Don Yancy

Discretion is very wide on how short is too short, or how narrow is a strap on a blouse, here we hope to rewrite the uniform dress code and we hope to put some specifics to do away with some of the discretion of sizes and length of wear.

Leitha Boutwell- for uniforms

Conway- not for it

Don Yancey- It's not popular with kids because it's kids. We did what the board told us to do investigate, talk to parents we sent out to vote on.

Petty- I have always been in favor of a uniformed dress code. I think it's good, it's going to take the cooperation of everyone involved. I think it will make the administriator's job easier. I just think we need to approach it in a positive manner. Very seldom do you get anything that everybody agrees on and likes, but I think it's a positive thing. I hope everyone sees it that way and gives it the benefit of the doubt.

The bottom line on enforcement is that if the kids would leave home as they should and stay as it should then it will be easy. Parents have to buy in to it and help us with it. We don't need to bicker back and forth on dress, it's a parent's responsibility and it should be. I think it's a positive thing.

Conecuh county- Preston Fluker- principal of Hillcrest- Ronnie Brogden-

Ronnie Brogden-

Five out of the six schools have mandatory dress code policies. Each school has it's policy

The majority of our parents wanted it so the school board

It's been very, very successful for us. It was a blessing for me as a parent. I had two girls go through the schools here and it was easier getting them dressed in the morning. You eliminate the have's from the have nots. Our students seem to act more as a group, as a family rather than individuals. It's defninelty cheaper too.

We don't have disciplinary problems when it comes to clothing. We also don't have problems with theft of clothing like we did before. The other thing we like too is when you go into a school you can readily identify who the students are so it helps us with the safety issue.