For some students, there is not a more dreaded phrase to hear than “school uniforms,” while others would welcome the idea of not having the hassle of deciding what to wear each morning. With the dress code policy up for revision, the Thomaston-Upson County Board of Education is considering the idea of uniforms for students in all local schools; however, before any decision is made, the board wants feedback from both students and parents on the idea.
Discussion of uniforms came up at a recent meeting after the board received a letter from a fifth-grade student asking them to consider adopting a policy. According to board member Angeline McGill, the student who sent the letter noted that some students have been bullied or harassed because of the type of clothes they were wearing and suggested that uniforms may keep that sort of thing from happening. McGill stated she felt if a child that young could see that others were being picked on because of their appearance, then she felt it was something the board needed to seriously consider.
This is the fourth time the question of implementing uniforms has come before the board and according to board member Jacqueline Hollis, it has failed each time because parents were concerned about the cost they would incur having to buy both uniforms and regular clothes. Chairman Keith Rohling stated that if this was something to go into effect, it could be as simple as requiring students to wear khaki pants and a collared shirt. The current dress code policy for Upson-Lee Schools has been in place since 1992.
Board member Terrell Jackson stated he believed before the board took any action they needed to speak with school officials as well as parents and students.
“I think before we do anything we need to speak with Mr. Caldwell and Mrs. Dean. We also need to survey the students because the child is the one who is going to be impacted,” said Jackson.
Board member Miriam Elsey agreed that this needed to be something that the entire community could buy into and not just be a decision of the board.
After discussing the matter, it was decided that a survey should be given to all of the students in the school system to gain their feedback and to post the survey on the school system website for parents to respond. The goal would be to have the results of the survey and a decision made before the end of May so that ample notice could be given before families start their back to school shopping.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to continue banking services with West Central Georgia Bank for the school systems’ operating, SPLOST and school nutrition accounts. Also, an increase of $1,959 for the funding the school system gives to the Hightower Memorial Library was approved. The library directors stated the increase was needed due to the rise of cost of health insurance premiums and the lack of state funding for federal grants for internet services. The amount will increase from $17,186 to $19,145.