District discusses school uniform option again

By Anthony Antoine | aantoine@wcia.com, Amanda Porterfield | aporterfield@wcia.com

Published 01/15 2014 10:21PM

Updated 01/20 2014 12:28PM

Update: 5:32 pm, 1/19/14, Sunday
DANVILLE -- Shopping for school clothes may be a little different for some parents this year. The school board has set a date to vote on uniforms. The board will make the decision Wednesday.

Last week, members heard from parents and community members about the pros and cons of students wearing uniforms. If put into place, the entire district will wear uniforms starting in the fall.

The board says it's leaning toward making the change because of the long-term benefits. It's the second time uniforms have been up for debate.
Original: 10:21 pm, 1/15/14, Wednesday
DANVILLE -- It's an issue the Danville School District has talked about for years; whether or not to have school uniforms.

"I feel very strongly there should be a uniform dress code."

Those strong feelings could make their way back into area schools. Wednesday night there was a special meeting to seriously consider it once again. The last time the community voted it didn't pass. It did leave room for it to be brought up for discussion again, but just barely.

Those positives are what drove a small group of pastors to fight for school uniforms once again. Reverend RJ Davis is a pastor and city alderman and has put two kids through the district.

"It's gotten to the point where they've lost respect for others around them," says Davis.

He says he remembers the good old days before saggy pants and low cut tops.

"The students wear what they want to wear irregardless to what the atmosphere is. I think when you dress appropriately, you feel differently," says Davis.

Kelly Powell also had kids in the district. She says clothes are a form of self-expression and doesn't think uniforms will change anything.

"Kids will be kids, in a uniform, not in a uniform. They'll want to stand out. They'll do something different," says Powell.

All were arguments which stumped the community in 2011. The board had parents vote during school registration. It needed 60% to pass it in K-8 in each school. However, the highest number of votes was just under 57%.

Brenda Yoho, a former principal at South View Middle School, is now an administrator in the district.

"I can see why we want that and why we don't, and it's a tough decision. But I think it's not a decision that needs to be made by a few people but by a community," says Yoho.

Wednesday night, board members were very vocal with at least half saying outright they wanted uniforms. However, that's where the discussion remains; split. It leaves the question of whether the board should just make a decision or go through the entire research and voting process once again.

In the meantime, dress code or not, everyone agrees, "It's a professional learning environment and it's a work environment. We come there to learn and we come there to teach. And everyone should be dressed professionally, ready to learn, ready to teach."

Another question raised was whether a dress code should apply to K-8 or include high school. It wasn't a voting meeting, so no decisions were made. Neither was there mention of when or whether it would be discussed again.

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