The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 9, 2014

District 118 sets uniform meeting

Seeks suggestions on clothing standards

BY CAROL ROEHM croehm@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — The second of two meetings to gather public input on Danville School District 118’s uniform standard of dress for the 2014-2015 school year will be Tuesday.

At the Ownership in Education meeting, parents, students and staff will have the opportunity to provide suggestions for the uniform standard of dress.

The meeting is set for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in the South View Middle School cafetorium.

“We want to engage the community again in dialogue,” Associate Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said, adding that she has received about 25 emails and phone calls since the school board approved implementing a uniform standard of dress next school year.

Forty-six people attended the first meeting Feb. 3.

The district is working from suggestions gathered in 2011, when parents were last surveyed about possibly implementing uniforms.

“It’s a place to get started,” Desmoulin-Kherat said.

Desmoulin-Kherat also has been meeting with student leaders, high school students and staff about uniform suggestions, as well as meeting with parent councils at every school in the district.

Input will continue to be gathered through February.

“Sometime in March we will give the board a draft for review and deliberation,” she said.

School board members voted 6-1 on Jan. 22 to implement a uniform standard of dress districtwide next school year. Board member Dr. Randal Ashton cast the dissenting vote.

Although the school board wasn’t supposed to vote on the issue until its Feb. 12 meeting, board members Steve Bragorgos and Frank Young asked that the “concept” of uniform dress for kindergarten through 12th grade be placed on the Jan. 22 meeting agenda.

At a special study session on Jan. 15, several local ministers spoke out in favor of school uniforms, saying they would prevent the display of gang colors, make visitors more visible at the schools and minimize economic class difference and bullying.

Several Danville High students as well as parents packed the Jan. 22 meeting to speak out against uniform dress. Opponents believe uniforms will not curb bullying nor improve learning. Some parents with multiple children in the district claim buying uniform clothes and their children’s everyday clothes will create a financial hardship for them.

FYI Anyone who is unable to attend may share his or her input by sending an email to Associate Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat at desmoulinkherats@danville.k12.il.us or by calling 444-1012.