Board, principals will review uniform policy

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Sometimes a shirt is just a shirt.

And with little or no evidence to support their effectiveness, the same could be said for school uniforms.

That leaves Richmond County school board members once again talking about easing its policies. In a special called meeting today, the board will review the uniform policy and discuss the matter with middle school principals.

"I can't see where it helped," said board member Helen Minchew, who favors a strict dress code instead. "I would just like to see (the policy) dropped."

The "most convincing, high quality" studies found no lasting effect from what children wear to school, said John Hoge, a University of Georgia associate professor of elementary and social studies education.

In 2003, Dr. Hoge reviewed studies about school uniforms when writing the chapter to a book, Real World Investigations.

"Schooling is quite complex," he said, adding many people expect to make a change or two and get big returns.

Absent anecdotal reports of success, the "bottom line" is that school uniforms don't raise achievement or decrease behavior problems, Dr. Hoge said.

Schools reporting improvements, he said, likely are experiencing a short-term change referred to as the "Hawthorne effect."

"Anytime you change anything in a school, you can get a temporary blip," he said, but in a few years it will go away.

"The only thing I feel is potentially positive about the school uniform movement is that it gives kids the chance to disguise their socioeconomic status," he said.

But even that, Dr. Hoge said, is iffy because children often know their classmates' backgrounds.

On top of that, an unintended consequence of a uniform policy is often bureaucracy and policing, he said.

In Richmond County, principals should be given the flexibility to enforce the uniform policy if it works at their respective schools and not to enforce it if it doesn't, school board Vice President Joe Scott said.

"There are some schools that are successful with it and some that aren't successful with it," he said.

Mr. Scott pointed to the alternative school as a place where the uniform policy is working. Every child at the school is in uniform and it helps with behavior, he said.

Today's discussion isn't the first about the uniform policy. In July 2005, Mrs. Minchew called for a review of the policy, calling it a burden for teachers and staff members to enforce.

Reneta Sikes, who has a son and a daughter in Richmond County schools, is glad to hear the board is reviewing the uniform policy, but she said it should be reviewed for all schools and not only middle schools.

Last summer, she collected more than 300 signatures in hopes of convincing the board to change the policy.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT:

The Richmond County Board of Education will meet with middle school principals at 5 p.m. today to discuss the uniform policy. The meeting will be at the board's central offices, 864 Broad St.

Comments (10) Add comment
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Martinez
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Martinez 03/20/07 - 05:15 am
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Even if uniforms only cause a

Even if uniforms only cause a few year temporary blip, wouldn't any positive change be worthwhile of consideration?

Sarge
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Sarge 03/20/07 - 06:25 am
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It doesn't matter what the

It doesn't matter what the children wear to school as long as they wear something that's decent and wear it properly. If they wear uniforms and they are five sizes bigger than what they should have on what are we accomplishing?? Let's just teach our children how to be respectful in all area (conversations, proper dress, etc..) and things will be so much better.

witness
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witness 03/20/07 - 08:39 am
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As you say, a shirt is just a

As you say, a shirt is just a shirt. I think the unifrom dress code should be dropped. It cost the parents more money because they have to purchase clothes for school (uniform), everyday were for the weekend and after school, and of course church when the clothes that they were after school or on the weekend can be worn to school. As long as a child is clean and dress with respect that is all should matter and then the teacher would only have to focus on educating our children.

Daddyrabbit
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Daddyrabbit 03/20/07 - 09:31 am
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Just remember everytime

Just remember everytime government gets involved to the uniform level, Hitler's kids wore uniforms. Uniforms aren't going to change the overall attitude of the students OR improve their discipline. If anything, it will eventually help identify territory of rival gangs and identify innocent children as part of it.MAYBE.

TrulyBlessed
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TrulyBlessed 03/20/07 - 10:07 am
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I wonder if any you have

I wonder if any you have children who wear uniforms to school? Both of my kids do. There is no added expense - we have to buy clothes for them anyway, the khakis and white shirts are acceptable at church and the jeans work for weekends. Getting them dressed in the a.m. is so much easier - no arguments about what they are going to wear. Uniforms also help remove designer labels and socioeconomic status as a factor in their relationships with classmates. Perhaps older children need to express themselves through their clothing, but we should keep the uniform policy for our younger students.

getreal59
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getreal59 03/20/07 - 10:59 am
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I agree with you 100%

I agree with you 100% Msirony, parents make a big issuse out of the price for the uniforms, but will pay $90.00 for 1 pair of shoes. which could buy 4 or 5 uniforms. But I do think Fridays they should be able to wear anything as long as it's in the guide line of the uniforms.

toppergem
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toppergem 03/20/07 - 01:31 pm
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I have a child that has worn

I have a child that has worn uniforms in school since the 3rd grade( five years). I like the uniform system. It take the fuss out of deciding what he is going to wear each morning. It removes the treats and taunts he use to get from children about what "name brand" he was or wasn't wearing and it cut my clothing cost bill tremendously. He can wear his school clothes to church with no fuss since his pants are khaki colored and dark
navy.

I have never understood all of the fuss about whether to wear a uniform or not wear a uniform...the focus should be on being neatly dressed and getting a quality education.

footstepstoglory
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footstepstoglory 03/20/07 - 02:06 pm
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MSIRONY---What do you mean

MSIRONY---What do you mean there is "NO ADDED EXPENSE"??? Since when Do I not have to purchase dresses for girls when they are not even allowed in the SCHOOL! Every time I turn around, the only thing these stores ever SELL is PANTS! No Skirts, and NO DRESSES! Take another look at those who are barely squeaking by on minimum wage and then come back and tell me there is "no extra expense". BALOGNA!

cottoncandy16
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cottoncandy16 03/20/07 - 02:09 pm
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I think the school puts to

I think the school puts to much time into worrying about what color shirt a child wears and not enough time on teaching that child how to read and write. As long as the child is presentable, we should not worry about if the shirt has stripes or a picture on it, we should be glad that child is coming to school to get their education.

readerscomments
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readerscomments 03/20/07 - 10:36 pm
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When the board meets do they

When the board meets do they all wear the same dress?? Maybe the city commisson should if it does indeed improve behaviors!! All jokes aside, I feel that our children should learn proper dress and be able to wear it to school if they so choose. And I do agree with "foostepstoglory" it is difficult to find anything other than pants. As far designer brands, they come in solids as well. As long as a child is attending public school, I feel that dress code should be observed be the style of dress not decided by officals.

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