Tuesday, July 25, 2017

No Uniform Opinion on Pottstown School Uniforms

Twenty-eight people spoke on the subject of Pottstown School District's school uniform policy (or dress code) during Monday night's special meeting of the school board policy committee.

Of them, 17 spoke against them, 11 in favor and one whose opinion was hard to pin down.

Objections raised included the cost, the failure of uniforms to cut down on bullying and bad behavior, especially at the middle school, a reduction of school spirit and the suppression of individual expression.

Support argued that in fact uniforms are cheaper, make mornings easier and do reduce bullying, increase school and community spirit and make Pottstown students stand out from others.

Among the more notable opponents was Pottstown High School Principal Danielle McCoy who told the committee that school spirit (among the staff as well as the students) went up and discipline problems went down when uniforms were eliminated two years ago and that school was allowed to implement a dress code.

"We became the uniform police," McCoy said of the staff. "And how am I supposed to send a student home because he can't learn as well in a pink shirt as he can in a blue one?" she said.

By contrast, some of the parents said since the uniform requirement was lifted at the high school, student dress has become more lurid and that the policy is not implemented evenly.

Others asked for proof that the uniforms did what they were supposed to do, improve discipline.

School Board Vice President Emanuel Wilkerson, who championed the lifting of the uniform policy at the high school, said the policy committee has received data on that subject and it will be posted on the district web site shortly.

In the meantime, it seems, the discussion will go on because, as Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez noted at the start of the meeting, whatever change is made, if any, it will NOT be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year which begins next month.

The discussion was broadcast live in a Facebook video feed, which you can watch by clicking here.

If you still like to read your live coverage, here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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