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10/25/2013 6:00:00 AM
Panel mulls Kingman student uniform plan
Measure seen as one way to assist with disclipline issues
JC AMBERLYN/MinerStudents wearing the current approved uniform T-shirts listen and take notes at Debbie Talk’s Sophomore English class study Thursday afternoon at Lee Williams High School.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Students wearing the current approved uniform T-shirts listen and take notes at Debbie Talk’s Sophomore English class study Thursday afternoon at Lee Williams High School.

CourtesySchool Board Vice President Jeri Brock is an advocate for full uniforms for students in the Kingman Unified School District.
Courtesy

School Board Vice President Jeri Brock is an advocate for full uniforms for students in the Kingman Unified School District.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - A Kingman Unified School District Governing Board committee is exploring the possibility of requiring the district's 7,055 students to wear full uniforms.

The committee of 10, composed of district and school administrators and parents, met Wednesday for the first time to discuss the issue. The committee is led by KUSD Governing Board Vice President Jeri Brock, who spoke in favor of full uniforms during this month's board meeting. The issue had come up in a recent school administrator's meeting.

"I think this issue is important and I want everyone's feedback," said Brock. "We're noticing a trend of more discipline issues in our schools, and the middle schools are really struggling with it. We can't provide a good education in borderline chaos. Research shows that in schools with full uniforms, discipline issues have gone down significantly."

Currently, KUSD students are required to wear T-shirts or polo shirts with the district's logo. There are no requirements for slacks or skirts other than being neat, not sagging and not being too short. The uniform policy was implemented during the 2008-2009 school year to lower clothing costs for students, increase security and safety at the schools and create a better learning environment.

During the committee meeting, Brock presented statistics from the U.S. Department of Education that 23 percent of public and private schools in the U.S. have a uniform policy, with the average annual cost of $249 per student for parents. The statistics show that schools in Long Beach, Calif., implemented uniforms in 1995 and school suspensions dropped by 90 percent, assaults in grades kindergarten through eighth dropped by 85 percent and incidents of vandalism decreased by 69 percent.

"Having uniforms infringes on students' rights to be creative in how they dress, but we're already doing that with the T-shirts," said Brock. "I feel that we're not just providing an education, we're also giving students social skills. There's so much poverty here and 86 percent of our students get free lunches. It behooves us to help them prepare for the business world by dressing for success, and I'm all for uniforms if they brings down the level of craziness in our schools."

Brock is pushing uniforms composed of white button-down shirts, ties and khaki slacks for boys, and white shirts with jumpers or skirts for girls. Brock said she researched the cost of uniforms and found they could be purchased for about $20 per set and were available in a variety of styles and colors. But several committee members said the cost of uniforms for parents with multiple children would be overwhelming, especially the first year.

"I love the idea of having uniforms but my concern is the expense for parents," said Joyce Pietri, principal of Manzanita Elementary School and a member of the committee. "I do think they will help with discipline, because the students will act differently when they are dressed up. If we can get the expense down or phase in the uniforms, I believe that would help the parents afford it."

Gretchen Dorner, principal of Lee Williams High School and a committee member, said students constantly ask when the uniform T-shirts rule will be abolished. Dorner suggested making full uniforms an option for high school students who prefer to dress up.

"My heart votes 100 percent yes for full uniforms but my head says 'Are you kidding?': said Dorner. "It's a daily battle now to get kids to wear the T-shirts. If we require students to wear full uniforms, we're going to get a lot of push back from parents and all hell is going to break loose. We have to be ready for that. It excites me to think of uniforms but we need to have a ton of research and a plan."

Jerry Arave, principal of Hualapai Elementary School and a committee member, said outfitting many of the district's children would be a financial problem for most parents. Arave said he has five children of his own at varying KUSD schools and it would mean purchasing three or four uniforms for each of them. Arave was principal at Kingman Middle School when the T-shirt policy was implemented.

"Part of me likes the idea of uniforms and part of me doesn't," said Arave. "When I was at the middle school that first year we required T-shirts, there was a line of people at my door wanting free shirts. We're going to have that even more if we require these uniforms. Whatever we decide to do, we're going to need to have a lot of research and input from the community about it"

School Superintendent Roger Jacks, also a committee member, said the 2013-14 school year has seen a lot of change already and questioned whether changing uniforms is a good addition. This year's changes include preparing for Common Core implementation, adding the Beyond Textbooks program, moving schedules around at the middle schools, instituting a new evaluation system for staff and developing a three-year calendar.

Jacks said the committee needs to come up with a survey for parents to get their opinions on the need for full uniforms. The group agreed to create a survey and bring it to the next committee meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. Nov. 8 at the KUSD administration building, 3033 MacDonald Ave. The public is invited to attend but there will be no opportunity for comment until the Governing Board sets public meetings on the issue.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: marsha Anastacio

My girls dont use skirts never I dont careif it gose to full uuniform I as there mother will not make them put on a skirts I have spent so much monety on school shirts and chepsweater now they want to say o will ur kids can no longer wear that to school we change the uniform hell no I want credit for all the clothing I all ready bought so I can buy the new

Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

If they are throwing uniform ideas around..how about chastity belts and shock collars for all?? That will solve 2 problems for sure.

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Article comment by: Sara Green

I am the mother of two wonderfull children. Both have been wearing the required school T-Shirt sinc they have started school. My son is 9 and wearing this shirt has not stopped him getting bullied. To think that Full Uniforms will stop this kinda of behavior is crazy. Bullies, drugs and bad behavior can still all happen with full uniforms. What needs to change is the way the schools deal with bullies and bad hehavior. Why doesn't the school district forces on better teacher, and what is being told to our children instead of telling them what to wear. This is a rural area and low income, there are people who can not afford $250 a year pluse the cost of up keep. Yes they High schoolers want to dress nice let them. But it is up to the parents to police what their child wears when they leave the house not the school. And can you tell me what younger child cares about dressing up. Who is going to pay for the up keep on this uniforms when the elementary school students ruin them durring recess because they are playing like children are suppose to do.

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

Skirts and jumpers for girls, but slacks for boys? What is this, the 1950's? I don't think that uniforms are necessary, but if you are going to force them on our children in a poorly conceived attempt to make them all the same, at least treat the girls like equals and not second class citizens!

Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Article comment by: A bad idea! .

The kids at PUBLIC schools are now wearing private/charter school shirts. The staff should be required to wear them too.... Ties and white ironed shirts, you've got to be kidding! That will really make kids want to go to school. Shorts are needed when the weather is hot.... Let's concentrate on qualified teachers/staff, who can actually teach. A full uniform is not going to change "the test" scores. Parents need to have a say on these full uniforms/or be optional... They didn't with the school shirts. Also, white shirts/khaki pants get so dirty. All staff/board members should wear them too. Pretty soon all individuality will be taken away, and we will be like robots.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

A long, long time ago when I was in high school, we had a dress code exactly like one poster mentioned. However, my high school was quite divided - rich kids from Park Ridge (Illinois) and the poorer kids from Des Plaines. The rich kids wore their cashmere sweaters and designer clothes, while the poorer kids wore K-Mart blue light specials. I was from Des Plaines, as were all of my friends, and we were ALWAYS looked upon as inferior by the Park Ridge kids and they bullied us relentlessly. I dreaded going to school. And the teachers and staff always favored the rich kids. If we had all worn school t-shirts, I think there would have been less division and bullying.

I think the T-Shirts and slacks/jeans in Kingman schools are fine. However, shorts should not be allowed. But really, white shirts, ties, and Khaki slacks/jumpers/skirts? Are you kidding me? If they implement this, I think you'll see a higher student dropout rate. Full uniforms, especially the ones suggested, will leave kids without the slightest bit of individuality. And that is not going to help matters one iota.


Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: Changed My Mind

Looks like the masses have spoken. No uniforms. And for great reasons.

When I was having trouble finding a job, I looked into tutoring students here. It pays a whopping stipend of $2.65 an hour but it you helped a child, it would be worth the effort.

I was told I probably wouldn't believe how many children actually need tutoring. I didn't respond but thought to myself, yes, I would believe it for I see it every day in every way where I've worked.

It is hard to understand why teachers don't just teach. Forget uniforms. Forget every distraction. Just teach. I was told the biggest problem. Students can't read. That is unbelievable and unforgivable. There is no excuse for a student to not be able to read and any teacher not getting them there should be fired for reading is mandatory for everything else.


Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: Highly Amused

Uniforms will not work in this school district until two large issues are fixed: the school begins doing their job and teaching, and parents do their job and begin to parent, and not be their child's friend.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: No Name

Rather than complain here in the paper which has no bearing on the board why do you all not go to the next school board meeting and make your feeling known. They have this realy cool thing called call to the audience where you can get up and state how you feel. The board is righ theree in front of you as well as every administrator in the district. Maybe they will actually listen than to what is being said.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Dweller

I would say that just a sampling of what folks have said on this page, that the school board should be able to see that the parents are not behind them on this one. There is no way they can enforce this uniform policy. All it will take is for all of us to stick together and refuse to make our kids go to school in the uniforms. When they get sent home, the schools will be empty and they lose money. Do that a couple of times and then they will listen. Money talks.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Dweller

It is real easy for a school board member to throw out the idea of slacks, ties, and button down white shirts when they will not be paying for them. As a parent with two kids in high school, it will be very expensive to do this. There are those who have written in here that,"Either way you will have to spend money on clothes". While this is true, the jeans and shorts that I now spend can be used outside of school. Not only that, you still have to buy those items because your kids can not wear uniforms everywhere they go. Now we have a double expense. I also think about those who can barely afford the uniform shirts. If they are expected to buy complete uniforms, how can they possibly afford to buy any other clothes for their children. These kids will be forced to wear uniform pants and shirts as part of their everyday dress. Has anyone thought of that?
The problem is NOT the dress code.....


Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: UNIFORMS DEFINATELY YES!

I agree with the full uniform for all students and all staff. The schools DON'T ENFORCE their own dress code! The boys baggy pants and the girls short short shorts are disgusting. I have 4 in this school district and the cost of uniforms would be much less costly than what I buy now!!!. Also why not have the students last name printed on back of the hoodies, I am tired of rebuying jackets that keep getting taken by another student! Uniform pants that require a belt would be a big plus instead of baggy pants being held up with shoestrings! I try to make sure my kids wear appropriate clothing, however have noticed when I show up at school they have only changed into something different either they took or what a friend has brought for them. I would be a DEFINATE YES ON FULL UNIFORMS!!!

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: Laurie Voss Barthlow

@ Julie-Ann - I want to thank you for taking the time to post your opinion here, and also for using your own name. As you can see, not many people do, even those who have good points, and well-thought positions. The school board has brought this idea for discussion, and I encourage anyone to email me at laurie.barthlow@gmail.com regarding this or any other matter at KUSD. And Julie-Ann, you can email me anytime, too. We are privileged to have you in our district.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: J L

Why doesn't the administration ask the KUSD kids? The kids are the ones that will have to wear uniforms. Don't let 10 people on a board decide about uniforms. They are the administration. I have a daughter in high school and I have asked her and her friends about uniforms and they hate the idea. The shirts are bad enough. As a parent I love the idea of school shirts. Uniforms is going way too far in my opinion. Kids need some sort of freedom of expression when it comes to their clothes. Give them some slack. To me it's another easy way out for the administration saying that the dress code helps curb discipline issues. It's too much"big-brother" talk. Conform or be disciplined.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by: ONE SIZE FITS ALL MR.C.

Wouldn't it be nice, if a uniform could handle disciplinary issues, where everything else seems to have failed. 295.00 dollars is a small price to pay "If a family has it" to accomplish such a feat.

Make no mistake about it tho, individuality has been the bench mark by which this country has measured success and every child today knows that.

Dress code, conduct code and disciplinary code, yes to all three. Uniforms will never make a child something there were never meant to be. So spend that 295.00 dollars on something they can really use.



Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Debbie Wells

Someone needs to open up a "used" shirt store for the students. I see lots of the school shirts at yard sales like new all the time for cheap as 25c. I gave all my sons elementary school shirts to our neighbor to take to the school she works at to give them to kids who have none or can't afford them when he started middle school. Schools just send a note home asking fo donations of the shirts & Jackets your kids outgrow or no longer have a need for.

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: CHANNEL FIVE NEWS TEAM

An outrageous amount of serial killers committed their murders while wearing clothes. DO CLOTHES CAUSE MURDERS? More at 11.

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Student's Opinion

As a freshman at Lee Williams High School, I think full uniforms would be great. It takes up too much time that students could be using for learning having the teachers pull kids aside and lecture about the uniform shirt. With a full uniform students won't even bother trying to find a way around it like they do with the shirts. Secondly, students think it's super important to "fit in" by wearing name brand/ designer pants,jeans,skirts etc., and some kids are judged because they DON'T have designer/ name brand bottoms. If everyone wears the same thing, kids won't feel the need to fit in or get taunted because of the clothes they have, and can spend more time on learning. I'll be very excited if we do get full uniforms (:

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Ellen Doe

As a person that was always teased growing up for not wearing all of the "in" brands, I can definitely see the value in this. If you can't afford 5 uniforms at $20 per set, perhaps you shouldn't have had kids. Also, there are lots of jobs out there that require uniforms, including mine. It's really not that big of a deal. There is plenty of time outside of school for kids to express themselves.

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“A T-Shirt is NOT a uniform….”

Your opinion only and one not shared by many people.


Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

I won't waste my time answering you on this one, from Schwarzenegger and Brown's signatures on these pieces of legislation, to Harvey Milk Day. My only concession is that it may have been an error to say that California is embracing a gay school agenda, when in fact, it's a very small minority of Democrat activists out of San Francisco who have been the prime movers, against parental wishes up and down the state. I'm definitely for an understanding view of gay people and other alternative views/lifestyles, and I definitely do not mean that as an endorsement for in-your-face activism on behalf of its most extreme manifestations.

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

@Stokes.....I won't waste my time answering you on this one, from Schwarzenegger and Brown's signatures on these pieces of legislation, to Harvey Milk Day. My only concession is that it may have been an error to say that California is embracing a gay school egenda, when in fact, it's a very small minority of Democrat activists out of San Francisco who have been the prime movers, against parental wishes up and won the state. I'm definitely for an understanding view of gay people and other alternative views/lifestyles, and I definitely do not mean that as an endorsement for in-your-face activism on behalf of its most extreme manifestations.

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

A T-Shirt is NOT a uniform unless it is for a sport outside of work or school.
Kingman Academy has always had "uniforms". I thought oh, this is a good thing until I knew what their so called uniform was! I was appalled to go to a second grade program one day and the teacher was "dressed in a pair of denim shorts, a t-shirt and tennis shoes"?. What an example to set for the students! Teachers are suppose to be professionals not just another one of the kids!
When I went to school all schools had Dress Codes, the girls wore their skirts & dresses mid knee or lower, their top actually covered them, the boys wore their shirts tucked in and a belt to keep their pants up. NOW it's like a free for all.
People complain about the cost of uniforms-my goodness look at the cost of any clothes.
I spent $80 something last school year for 3 t-shirts, a school jacket and a hoodie school sweat shirt top. At least they were good quality made which I'd rather pay for anytime other than paying out good money for poor quality Wal-Mart junk they now have. You are going to pay to cover your kid no matter what.
There is a time to dress for seriousness, a time to dress for something special (be it a dance, a funeral, or wedding) and a time to dress for play. School isn't playtime but adults have to set the rules and examples!


Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: William Cornish

What is the purpose of attending school? I would think possibly to obtain the knowledge to succeed in later life. Appearance doesn't affect grades.
If stifling creativity is your concern then explain to those millions of citizens who wear a uniform in their professional lives how they are incorrect. From the professional business man, to military service members a uniform signifies competence and pride. Maybe a redefinition of school uniforms is needed. A uniform is something good and not to be disdained.


Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Article comment by: KUSD Parent too

Let's start by setting the example first. I have 2 kids at one of the high schools.On my many ventures into the school I was met by administration wearing t-shirts and jeans. I noted some of the teachers were wearing clothes befitting Saturday in the park with stretch pants, t-shirts and hiking shoes.The school t-shirts should be left for the kids to wear, not the front office people. Is there not a dress code for the employees? Is this not being addressed? Whatever happened to education first and social activities second? What I see is a way to lay blame for the inability of the district to do their jobs...TEACH!! If uniforming the kids will help then make it simple blue or black pants/jeans and school t-shirts. No skirts, shorts, capris, etc. This will make keeping the clothes in compliance easy. Staff should be required to wear business casual at all times. Then take the wasted time and money and put more teachers/aids and equipment in the schools. This has actually worked for hundreds of districts. Follow the example!


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