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Parents dress downs BoE over uniforms
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Most of Tuesday’s school board meeting was taken up by parents’ complaints about the new K-8 uniform dress code and board action adjusting the policy.
Although several policy changes will be announced, some problems were solved by the idea board member Charlie Frazier expressed, “We need to use common sense.”
With a combination of motions and administrative actions, the schools made adjustments in the dress code.
More than a half dozen parents appeared to protest parts of the dress code, many of them accompanied by their students — some in uniform — and some bringing uniform items which they waved at the board.
Most complaints seemed to come from Jordye Bacon Elementary, Snelson-Golden Middle School and Liberty Elementary.
One parent said, “Snelson-Golden was using their own overzealous interpretation of the dress code,” drawing scattered applause.
Board member Harold Woods said, “People who didn’t want uniforms in the first place are intentionally making it hard now.”
One specific “common sense” suggestion concerned the part of the code that says that if pants have belt loops, belts must be worn.
Member Marcia Anderson said, “You take your seam ripper and you get rid of those of those belt loops.”
Anderson also called for an effort to “police the staff and administration dress too.”
Interim Superintendent Harley Grove noted that coats had not been a concern during the summer heat, but would be in cooler weather.
He recommended that, particularly during this first year of the uniform dress code, students be allowed coats they already have, regardless of uniform color rules.
School regulations call for coats to be worn open indoors, so it will be apparent if students are wearing uniforms or not.
On another subject, one parent appeared to protest a letter sent to parents of Liberty County High School explaining that the school had failed to make annual yearly progress as measured under the federal No Child Left Behind act for two years.
Such letters were sent to five schools in Liberty, identifying groups with low scores.
At LCHS the “black ethnic subgroup” kept the school from making adequate yearly progress and this was explained in the letter drafted at the board’s central office and sent out over Principal Paula Scott’s name.
The protesting parent thought the explanation should have been phrased differently.
Grove, in a guest column in Sunday’s Courier and other forums has explained the letters are required under NCLB and followed a model letter furnished by the state.
Board Chairman Lily Baker said, “We take no pleasure in having to send these letters home.” Grove emphasized, “The letter was not intended to be derogatory in any way.”

What was changed

At its meeting Tuesday, the Liberty County Board of Education made the following revisions and clarifications for the dress code to be enacted immediately.  Items already identified as acceptable in the dress code will remain in place with these changes.

Kindergarten-Grade 8:
1.Jumpers (sleeveless and of navy or khaki color) worn with a shirt or blouse already specified in the dress code will be acceptable.
2. Skorts and skirts with shorts attached are acceptable.
3. The hem length of shorts, skirts, skorts, and jumpers must be no shorter than 3 inches above the top of the knee cap.
4. Shorts and pants cannot have pockets on the legs.
5. Buttons and tabs that are part of the garment when purchased are not considered ornamentation.  Clothing cannot contain ornamentation such as sequins and chains.
6. In addition to the navy, black, or brown belts, a belt that is the same solid color as the clothing item (navy or khaki) and comes as part of the clothing item will be acceptable.  Belts that tie or buckle are acceptable.  (For instance, if a khaki skirt has a matching khaki material belt included in the purchase and designed to be worn with that item, the belt is acceptable.)
At the current time, it is difficult to find a navy, black, or brown belt in our geographic area.  In an effort to assist the parents in having time to locate this clothing accessory, parents and students will have a waiver on this item until Sept. 10.  We ask that parents make every attempt to have their children compliant on this item prior to September 10 if possible.  Students who already have belts are expected to continue to wear them.

Grades 9-12:
1.The length of shorts, skirts, dresses, jumpers, etc. must be no shorter than 3 inches above the top of the knee cap.  If the article of clothing contains a slit, the top of the slit can be no higher than 3 inches above the knee cap.

Administrators (K-8) have agreed that students who received letters regarding noncompliance with the dress code during  Aug. 6-15 will have those infractions removed.
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