Friday, May 15, 2009

To whom it may concern . . .

Dear Friends,

We are happy the school board is revamping the FKHS/SMS dress code, and we applaud the work of the dress code committee. As you may know, a survey went out asking teachers, parents, and students to choose between two dress code options and to provide additional opinions on individual clothing items. We are concerned, however, that the survey presents a false choice: Option 2, a strict uniform policy, appears to make Option 1 look more palatable, but Option 1 is, in our opinion, disturbingly similar to the current code.

While it is refreshing to see Capris added for girls and the deletion of some of the color controls, we are disappointed by several of the surviving restrictions in Option 1. First, while "hoodies" denoted gang affiliation when the original code was drafted, this is no longer the case; in fact, it is almost impossible to find a sweater without a hood that doesn't make the wearer look like a senior citizen. Second, polo shirts are not uniformly flattering, and tucking in shirts can serve to highlight weight differences that children may already feel uncomfortable about. Third, most casual shorts have cargo pockets; a child is no more likely to conceal a weapon in a cargo pocket than he or she is to hide it in a notebook, purse, or even a regular pocket. Option 1, while blessedly shorter than the current policy, continues to dictate fashion, robs our young adults of the opportunity to make decisions regarding their personal appearance guided by their parents, and casts our teachers in the unfortunate position of policing whether or not cargo pockets have been sewn shut.

Please take a look at the dress code policy that is in effect at the high school at Kadena AFB (Japan): A simple policy such as this sets reasonable parameters for matters of safety and decency, while allowing students to dress in a way that is comfortable to them and that expresses their individuality. We urge you to consider attending the public meeting at 1800 hours on Tuesday, 19 May, at Scott Middle School prepared to support such a policy (minus the typos) as Option 3.

Feel free to forward this message to other parents. This is our opportunity to influence the operation of our local schools. Hope to see you at the meeting!


Fred and Bonnie Taylor

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