Originally created 08/07/99

Some sizes hard to find

Short, tall, big or small, some parents in Richmond County are having a hard time finding the sizes they need to dress their children in school uniform colors.

Area merchants say it depends on where they go.

The Richmond County school district has adopted a uniform policy -- that consists mostly of khaki or navy bottoms and white shirt -- for most of its elementary and middle schools.

Sinatra Garrett was shopping with his three children at J.C. Penney on Friday afternoon. His hands were filled with white shirts and khaki pants, but he still was missing one size.

"Most of the sizes are too big or too small, the mediums are about gone, unless you order them from the catalog," Mr. Garrett said.

And though he agrees with the school board's policy, his children have different opinions.

"I just want to wear regular clothes," said Charles Garrett, a seventh-grader at Hephzibah Middle. "It would be good if they let us wear jeans as a uniform."

His sisters Toni and Brin said they would like to wear a variety of clothes every day.

Rhonda Hardy's son modeled khaki shorts and a light blue shirt in Penneys -- the ensemble for National Hills Elementary.

"I kind of like individuality," Mrs. Hardy said.

Several parents who want their children to wear the uniforms say they are having a hard time finding larger sizes. Michael Benson, a buyer of children's clothes at Penneys, said his store has plenty of plus sizes for girls and "husky" sizes for boys.

"We haven't had a problem with parents finding the sizes they need," Mr. Benson said. "We've built two shops for girls-plus and boys huskies. We can't keep enough of them, as soon as they come in, we put them out."

Sears is having a hard time stocking larger sizes for girls.

"Right now we're doing pretty good with boys sizes," said LaTasha Lackey, a sales associate for Sears.

When Sears doesn't have the sizes, they refer customers to other stores.

"All of Richmond County needs uniforms," Ms. Lackey said of the referral policy.

Marie Eddy said she is having a hard time finding uniforms for one of her younger sons. He wears a 6-slim.

"I usually can find clothes for him in other outfits," Mrs. Eddy said while shopping with her children at Sears. "It's just the khakis that I'm having a hard time with."

Mrs. Eddy thinks the uniform policy is a good idea. But not all parents agree.

Diana King said she is not participating. Her children attend Hephzibah Middle and Goshen Elementary schools.

"What it boils down to is, good kids are being punished for what bad kids do," Mrs. King said.

Her husband nodded in agreement.

"It's easier for the school district to tell kids what to wear rather than deal with the parents. Discipline has to start at home."

Parents who do not want their children to wear uniforms -- for financial or religious reasons -- can sign an opt-out policy.

Faith Johnson covers education, she can be reached at (706) 823-3765 or faithj@augustachronicle.com.


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