On June 21, Milford School District Board of Education reviewed potential changes to the dress code policy. Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, pointed out that over the past year the dress code had been relaxed somewhat and some of those changes were being proposed as permanent.
“What we have heard overwhelmingly is that they prefer to call it a dress code rather than a uniform,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We have had several meetings regarding this and we have tried to make it more student focused as we are trying to create a more student-centric environment.”
Dr. Dickerson stated that staff looked at the dress code from an equity lens, especially talking about skirts and shorts. Instead, the code now reads “dress code bottoms” in order to avoid singling out male or female students.
“We would allow jeans to remain as part of the dress code, “ Dr. Dickerson said. “We will still uphold the no holes and that kind of thing. We are also offering more colors for the collared shirts. One change we made last year as a pilot for the high school was allowing hooded sweatshirts. We felt this would allow the students to show some pride by wearing Buccaneer logo items or college-related hooded sweatshirts. I would like to see that go forward at the high school because some of our rooms can be very chilly. So far, we would still only permit the hooded shirts at the high school.”
School board member Renate Wiley pointed out that although this was a pilot program at the high school, she understood that it went very well.
“My concern is only allowing it for high school,” Wiley said. “I don’t think that is fair. I think we do all students or we do none. I know we piloted it at the high school for just a short time, but I think all schools should be the same. Young children walk to school as well and we should take that into consideration. You also have kids who live in the same household who may go to both elementary and high school. This would allow one child to wear a hooded shirt and the other not.”
Board member David Vezmar agreed with Wiley’s observation.
“I thought we piloted to see how it worked,” Vezmar said. “I think I heard Mr. Parsley say that it worked and that kids were being respectful by keeping their hoods down.”
Seth Buford, Assistant Principal at Milford High School confirmed that the pilot program went very well with students following all the guidelines required with minimal problems.
“I think we can talk to the elementary schools and see how they feel about the hooded sweatshirt issue,” Dr. Dickerson said. “If they feel this would benefit the students, we can make the changes and present a new version at the next board meeting.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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