School officials want to know what parents think about a proposal to require school uniforms in Caroline County schools and will conduct evening meetings on Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Tuesday, Dec. 17.
The Nov. 19 meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Bowling Green Elementary School, and the Dec. 17 meeting will also start at 6 p.m., but will be in the cafeteria at Lewis and Clark Elementary School.
School officials will meet with students at Caroline High School to get their input, but that meeting has not been scheduled yet, said School Superintendent Greg Killough.
Parents who attended school orientation in August received a survey about uniforms. Results of the survey will be at the meeting. Parent will be allowed to speak within a specific number of minutes. A prototype uniform will be available for parents to see—probably a solid color polo shirt and khaki pants for boys and a solid color shirt and skirt for girls.
In March, a group of local business owners, led by Bowling Green Mayor David Storke, asked the Caroline School Board at its regular meeting to consider requiring uniforms for all students to improve the image of Caroline County Public Schools.
By April, the board created a uniform committee, headed by Killough and comprised of two parents, two teachers, a principal from each of the school division’s five schools, the director of special education, two School Board members, and business leaders. The committee has drawn up a mission, purpose and vision for uniforms and decided on a prototype uniform.
Part of the push for uniforms is due to blatant violations of the dress code day in and day out, especially at Caroline High School, School Board Chairperson Nancy Carson has said. When a student violates the dress code, a teacher must send the student to the office. Then, administration must call the parent or guardian, who must bring appropriate clothes to school.
Target, Land’s End and Burlington Coat Factory sell school uniforms, and some websites, such as www.frenchtoast.com, sell five outfits for $150, the mayor said. “National statistics say it’s cheaper to buy uniforms than other clothes,” he added.
In addition, bullying diminishes when all students wear uniforms. “A big boy with camouflage on might intimidate a small boy,” Storke said. “But when you make them dress the same, the intimidation factor dissipates.” Uniforms remove distractions.
Virginia’s former state superintendent of public education, Bill Bosher, has met with school officials, including Killough and Storke, to give them guidance on implementing a uniform policy and told them not to rush into implementation of uniforms.