School Uniforms Are Creating a Stir

92

The Milford School District will be making some big changes next year during the 2011-2012 school year. The most noticeable addition is the new campus, Mispillion Elementary School, which will host grades 1-5 for the first time in August. Less visible but with just as much attention drawn to the subject is the new school uniform policy that will take place across the district from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

The school dress code has been an issue for some teachers at the schools for years but it was a group of teachers rallied by Katie Lynch who approached the school board to enforce a uniform policy at the High School and Central Academy.

The argument from many teachers has been that dress code violations of the past have been very difficult to enforce and led to a loss of instructional time that the students need to receive. After the uniform policy idea was submitted to the school board it was suggested that a committee draft a proposal of the policy, which they did in May.

The school board liked the new proposal but felt it needed to be instituted district-wide in order to be effective and so adopted the new K-12 School Uniform Policy on May 16. Next fall Milford will join the surrounding districts of Lake and Woodbridge in enforcing a district-wide uniform policy.

Director of Student Support, Phyllis Kohel commented, “I think the new uniform policy shows students that education needs to be approached in a professional manner just as they will find out in the future that their future work and careers will require.”

Ms. Kohel says she has received several emails from students who feel that the uniform policy is a great idea and of course several who feel it is not.

Leigh Minor Nagy, who will have two of her children attending Milford schools next fall, loves the idea of uniforms for the students. “I think it is wonderful. My daughter Savanna went to a school with uniforms when we lived in Florida. Everything was so much easier in the mornings and it really helps remove the conversation about what is popular versus what is appropriate,” commented Ms. Nagy. “It also brings the focus back on what is important in school.”

Students Rachael Dobie and Dalton Carter have other thoughts on the matter. “The dress code was strict enough this past year and now it is going to be even worse,” stated Rachael, an incoming sophomore at Milford High School. “It is a public school and I feel that we shouldn’t be forced to wear a uniform.”

Incoming seventh grader Dalton Carter is opposed to the idea too. “I will not be able to express my creativity and individuality with uniforms,” said Dalton. “I am really upset that I will not be able to wear hoodies.”

The new Milford School District Uniform Code will supersede all previous dress code policies. The uniform must be worn by students in order to enter the building on school days from beginning to end of each school day.

Uniform bottoms can be tan or black khaki style pants which include “walking shorts, capris, skirts, jumpers or dresses that are to the knee or longer.” Students may not wear denim, chains, or spiked jewelry.
Uniform tops can be maroon, black, gold or white Polo Shirts. They must be “collared, 3 buttons and a solid color.” Students may not reveal any “undergarment, camisoles, for example, or undershirts.” Students may also not wear over garments such as “sweatshirts, hoodies, or jackets…over the polo.”

The district has taken extra measures to ensure that students will have access to clothes that fit the K-12 School Uniform Policy. God’s Way and the Salvation Army in Milford will both keep a separate rack for clothing that matches the colors of the Milford School District’s new policy. Walmart and Target have also been approached by the District to carry clothing that will be suitable for students to wear next semester.

The new district-wide uniform policy is more detailed and parents and students are urged to view the K-12 School Uniform Policy for themselves. The policy can be found at http://milfordschooldistrict.org/ourpages/auto/2011/5/19/43221819/UNIFORM%20POLICY%205415.pdf.