For the second time in three years, the Liberty County Schools’ social workers are trying to assure all students can dress for success.
They organized a uniform drive Friday at Liberty County High School so students, whose families can’t afford uniforms, would not have to go without. Uniforms were distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The drive served close to 50 families in the first half-hour, according to Mary Alexander, assistant superintendent for student services.
“It’s just a way of helping families,” she said.
Schools have a mandatory uniform dress code policy. Kindergartners through 12 graders are required to wear school uniforms, aimed at improved student performance and safety, and to help elevate students’ self-esteem, according to the LCSS 2013-14 dress code. Students must wear polo shirt and solid khaki pants. The colors of the shirts are determined by which particular school students attend.
“The Liberty County school social workers held the uniform drive two years ago,” social worker Yolanda Sharpe said. “School uniforms were provided to more than 300 families. This is our second drive. Our intent is to hold the school uniform drive bi-yearly.”
“We started planning the drive back in January,” social worker Pam Farrie said. “We did our uniform collection in April and May.”
Social workers asked students from each school to donate unwanted, gently used uniforms, Sharpe explained. Over the summer, the uniforms were dry cleaned and sorted before distribution, she said.
“There are no income requirements to receive school uniforms,” Sharpe said. “We provide school uniforms to all school age students who attend the Liberty County School System.”
Farrie, who is a liaison to an area homeless coalition, said the drive was open to all students, but social workers made sure the neediest families knew about the drive.
“Sometimes families don’t always have the means to purchase school uniforms for their children, which can be a barrier to school attendance,” Sharpe said. “The uniform drive is a way that students can receive school uniforms for free to help lessen the financial burden to their families.”
She said the social workers want every student to succeed in school.
“We really want to thank all the parents that donated uniforms, and all the schools that volunteered people and time to the drive,” Farrie said.
Parent Rosalind Noah briskly and efficiently picked out school uniforms for her three children at the drive. Noah said she works two jobs and still has a hard time.
Parent Luverma Quarterman got uniforms for her two growing children, a third grader and a sixth grader. She said an average polo shirt costs $16 and pants, $17. Since students must wear uniforms every day, each child needs uniforms and the cost adds up. Quarterman said she was informed about the drive via text from the school and again from “someone at church.”
“That was a blessing,” she said.
For more information on the dress code, check the school district’s website at liberty.k12.ga.us.