Board votes to approve uniforms

By Anna Carrera

Published 01/22 2014 03:48PM

Updated 01/23 2014 10:00AM

Update: 10:53 pm
DANVILLE -- After an emotional debate, the school board voted in favor of uniforms for all students. The 6 - 1 vote comes just one week after a special session brought the issue to the forefront.

Wednesday night's vote didn't specifically outline any uniform guidelines. Board president Bill Dobbles says those will be developed in the next few months. But students and parents say this all happened too quickly and didn't end the way they hoped.

Families didn't let bad weather outside keep them from filling the room and standing up for themselves.

"We are against having uniforms," said Danville High School junior Alexis Simmons.

Danville schools already have a dress code policy families sign each year, but students say sometimes that doesn't make a difference.

"I feel like the teachers and administrators should have to enforce the dress code that we have now," said Danville High School junior Natalie Mahoy. "And they shouldn't have to punish the rest of us who actually do follow the dress code every single day."

Even though they acknowledge there's no evidence uniforms would help with grades and test scores, most board members say schools have a lot to gain with stricter rules.

"There have been studies done that show discipline, attendance, graduation rate are improved with a uniform dress code," said Dobbles.

The board showed a video about one school using a uniform standard where students could still wear certain colors and styles.

"We're not really trying to establish that strict of a policy," said Dobbles. "Clearly there is different dress for going to a basketball game or going out with your friends or going to church or going to school."

"We have a right to express ourselves," said Simmons. "This is when we're learning who we are. We're going to college soon and we are going to have to learn how to dress ourselves. I don't think wearing a uniform to school is going to necessarily teach us those things."

Even though both sides agree that most students follow the rules they already have, the board plans to move forward with decision for the good of them all.

Dobbles says now that they've made this decision, they want input from teachers, students and their families about what to include. They plan to decide on the specific uniform guidelines soon, so it can go into effect in the fall.

This isn't the first time Danville has had this debate. The last time the board seriously considered uniforms, they would have only been for grades K - 8. Parents voted in 2011, but none of the schools reached the 60% majority needed. The district has one charter school where students already wear uniforms. That's at Northeast Elementary.
Original: 3:53 pm
DANVILLE -- The Danville School Board plans to vote on the issue of uniforms for students Wednesday night. It isn't the first time the issue has surfaced.

In 2011, the board put the issue up to parents for a vote during registration. It needed 60% to pass for each school, grades K-8. But the highest number of votes was just under 57%.

Last week, the board had a special meeting to consider it again, but now, the board will have to make a decision. Members have said they're leaning toward making the change because of long-term benefits.

If it passes, students in the entire district would start wearing uniforms in the fall. Students at Northeast Magnet School, which is one of the elementary schools, already wear uniforms.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm.

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