KUSD: No new uniforms, at least for now

Cost to parents, mid-year adjustment were concerns

KINGMAN - Kingman Unified School District parents won't be buying new school uniforms for their kids this year.

After some discussion Tuesday evening, the KUSD Governing Board decided to spend a little more time researching the idea of full uniforms for students and to survey parents and students to get their opinions.

Superintendent Roger Jacks said staff hopes to get the surveys out by the end of the week and have them returned before the Thanksgiving break.

"I'm not sure we could do (a dress code) this year anyway," said Board member Laurie Voss Barthlow, referring to how difficult it would be to start a new policy in the middle of the school year.

Barthlow said the two meetings the Student Dress Code Committee held were well-attended by staff, teachers and members of the public.

The main concern was the cost of the uniforms to parents, Barthlow said.

One suggestion raised during the meetings was to gradually introduce full uniforms to the schools, she said. For example, keep the current standard of T-shirts and polo shirts, but require students to wear khaki pants or slacks.

That suggestion was better received, but a few parents said their kids would tear through the pants when they went out to playground or would only wear the pants at school, Barthlow said.

Barthlow said she was really impressed with the dress code John Seward, the district's middle school continuation coordinator, had in place for his classes.

Seward's students, who often have behavior or academic problems, are required to wear a plain white T-shirt, plain pants and plain shoes. No logos are allowed. Shirts must be tucked in and pants must sit at the waist and have a belt.

"We've tried to take away anything that they might be picked on for," Seward said. "We haven't had any complaints from the parents."

The dress code has had a positive effect on the students, he added.

"It sends a signal to the kids that they need to step up and the parents are stepping up too," he said. "When you raise a point with the students and give them an explanation for it, they step up and do it."

Barthlow also pointed out that the "dress for success" days at Kingman High School - where students dress up in khakis, button-down shirts and sometimes ties - are well liked.

KHS Principal Patrick Carey agreed, but wondered how the district would enforce a new uniform rule.

"What do you compromise on? Because you're going to compromise on something," he said. "However, when you set limits for the students, they will achieve them, if they are reasonable."

Board President Charles Lucero also raised concerns about the cost of the uniforms to parents. He pointed out that when the district moved to the T-shirt and polo shirt uniforms, schools found themselves handing out a lot of free shirts to students who couldn't afford to buy them.

Barthlow said that would definitely be a concern if they moved to khaki pants. How big of a supply would they need to support students who weren't dressed appropriately or didn't have the funds to purchase pants? It was definitely something to think about, she said.