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School-uniform policy was not taken lightly
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Editor, I would like to respond to the article, that appeared in the Coastal Courier on Friday, June 15, 2007, entitled, “Schools Choose Uniform Colors,” written by Joe Parker Jr.  
The article appeared to put a negative spin on the uniform process and seemed to indicate many problems were anticipated.  
Mr. Parker wrote about an enforcement body, he referred to as “the school dress code police.” He also quoted a board member as saying, “It’s going to be a mess,” and he appeared to indicate my frustration by quoting me as saying, “Hindsight,” and indicated this was mumbled as I slumped in my chair. Although I am not certain of my posture at the time, I clearly addressed the entire board when I stated that in hindsight it probably would have been better to have only the two county colors of navy blue and white for shirts.  
The board of education is trying to develop a policy that will be as clear to all students and parents as possible, and taking a few comments out of context certainly made the entire process seem unorganized.  
The creation of a new “uniform dress code” was not taken lightly. It was nearly a year-long process that involved all school and community stakeholders. The process began by creating a committee made up of school and system-level administrators, teachers and classified staff. All committee members were volunteers and not individuals chosen because of an interest in school uniforms. I agreed to serve as chairperson of this committee despite the fact I knew the recommendations made, in favor or opposed to uniforms, would most likely be controversial.  
Many steps were followed in an attempt to determine if uniforms would be beneficial for the students in Liberty County. They included researching uniform effectiveness, creating surveys for parents and staff, visiting a neighboring system with a uniform policy in place, creating a draft policy and sending the draft to all school families. The board of education was diligent in insisting we be very thorough, and questioned and guided our committee throughout the process.   
Finally, after discussing the research, hearing the favorable reports from our neighboring system, reviewing pro-uniform staff surveys, and seeing that 70 percent of the nearly 5,000 parent surveys returned were in favor of uniforms, the BOE voted to implement a uniform policy in grades kindergarten through eight for the 2007-2008 school year.   
During the past year, the board of education discussed uniforms in open meetings no fewer than seven times.  Although the policy has now been passed, the board continues to discuss it, as at the June meeting, to ensure it will be well understood by parents and students. We are fortunate to have a board of education that continues to discuss, and sometimes even change, policy for the betterment of our schools.  
In closing, I would like to say it is understood uniforms are not the answer to all school problems. It is simply one of many proactive steps our school board has considered in a continual effort to maintain a strong school system. We hope this and all school board policies, along with quality teaching, a strong curriculum, good support services, and strong parent and community support, will help all Liberty County schools improve student achievement.   

Scott Carrier
Frank Long Elementary School
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