, 2014

Back-to-school wardrobe
set for Lancaster primary;
LMS parents to be surveyed

by Audrey Thomasson

KILMARNOCK—Next year’s “must have” fashion for students at Lancaster Primary School will be polo shirts and navy or khaki slacks, shorts, skirts, jumpers or skorts.

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School board members on Monday voted 4-1 for the new uniform dress code to start with the fall term. Only District 2 member Ella Davis voted against the measure.

Uniforms at the primary and middle schools were first suggested in January by school board chairman Alex Fleet.

As adopted, LPS students will be allowed to wear long- or short-sleeve polo shirts in a variety of colors, including white, gray, blue and red. The variety of pants to skirts must be navy or tan.

At Monday night’s school board meeting, four LPS students modeled the clothes for members.

Principal Dr. Holly Wargo said LPS teachers are in favor of the dress requirement as are 70% of parents surveyed.

Wargo noted research that shows uniforms eliminate economic and social barriers and result in students tending to take school more seriously and demonstrate better behavior. Also, a uniform policy can lead to a possible reduction in cliques, fights and competition while school pride and belonging increases. Families may experience some cost savings and attendance may improve.

According to the research, she said challenges include difficulty in enforcing the policy and that it may cause economic hardship with parents having to buy uniforms and casual clothes. Also, it could mask bigger issues and suppress individuality.

Cindy Clark and Tara Booth spoke in favor of the dress code, but stressed the importance of extending it to the middle school because students from both schools ride the same buses.

“If they ride the same bus, they should all wear uniforms” to prevent the older kids from taunting the younger ones about it, said Booth. She also questioned how the school would enforce the requirement, which she feared would take away from instructional time.

“We must enforce it consistently,” Wargo said, while admitting enforcement will impact instructional time.

Lancaster Middle School principal Kim Hammond said teachers favor the dress code, but the school has not surveyed parents.

The school board asked her to move forward with a parent survey in time for the June meeting when they will vote on whether to implement the same dress requirements at LMS.

While Lancaster High is exempt from the uniform policy, its dress code was adjusted for clarity and consistency, said principal Dr. Lori Watrous.

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