After the Bryan County Board of Education voted to table the uniform policy at its last meeting, Dr. Sallie Brewer met with principals who spoke out saying that a uniform policy would help them in controlling inappropriate clothing that students wear, allowing them more time to dedicate to curriculum. This policy is back on the agenda for their May 24 meeting.
Now, do I think some kids are dressed inappropriately for school? You bet. Should there be a dress code? You bet. The Bryan County School system has a dress code, and it should be enforced... but don’t fix a lack of current enforcement with further restrictions. We need to enforce the current regular dress code that bars indecent or disruptive clothes. The complaints I mostly hear (drooping pants two sizes too big, bellies showing, short skirts, etc) are all addressed by the current dress code and would still be an issue under a uniform policy, especially in high schools where typically, compliance is a more significant problem since older children are much more independent. Just ENFORCE what we have! I don’t believe a uniform policy is the quick fix some people seem to believe it will be.
This is a divisive issue that violates parents’ rights to make basic decisions about the upbringing of their children. I think the board members that voted in April to table this policy in order to gather information, do more research and get further input from the community made a very wise decision. Personally, I would like to see the uniform policy tabled permanently, but if not, why can’t we have a poll, or public hearings, or a referendum - anything along those lines. Last year’s survey, which would not stand up to scrutiny because it was not scientifically designed, cannot even be used for reference any more because the results were destroyed by the superintendent. According to their own Board Policy on Board Powers and Duties, adopted July 14, 1987, the board is responsible for "providing adequate and direct means for keeping the local citizenry informed about the schools and for keeping itself informed about the wishes of the public." A public hearing and/or parent poll would accomplish that.
If the Bryan County BoE and school administrators feel strongly about implementing a uniform policy, let’s take the time to ensure that it is truly the right choice for Bryan County. Unfortunately, although a majority of the school board members listened to citizens’ input as to their wishes, Dr. Brewer isn’t listening. She seems to be yelling, ‘Just do it! Do it now!’