The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 13, 2014

D118 gets heated over uniforms

Board Members: Proposal has 'too many variables'

DANVILLE — Danville District 118 School Board President Bill Dobbles brought articles of clothing from his closet and his 17-year-old daughter’s closet to Wednesday night’s school board meeting to visually demonstrate what was acceptable and not acceptable under the proposed uniform standard of dress.

A draft of the uniform standard of dress, which will be implemented in Danville District 118 for all students in grades K-12 beginning next school year, was presented to the school board on Wednesday night for its review.

The proposal now will be on public display, with the board further discussing the proposal at its April 9 meeting and possibly voting on it April 23. School officials said they want to allow parents and students the maximum amount of time to prepare for the transition.

Administrators contend the uniform standard of dress has nothing to do with actual school uniforms, but rather is a consistent way of dressing. They contend the standard for dress will improve the learning environment, reduce classroom distractions, bridge socio-economic differences and increase students’ self-respect and self-esteem.

“Simplicity and enforceability guided our decisions,” Associate Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said.

Board member Lon Henderson, however, said he thought the proposed dress code “has way too many variables.”

“When the issue was brought up back in January, I made my thoughts known then that I didn’t want it to be too cumbersome and hard to monitor,” he said.

“Why are we making a distinction between striped shirts and solid color shirts?” he said, adding that checkered or gingham shirts wouldn’t be inappropriate. “If a student is wearing a Docker pant, what difference is it what color it is?”

Furthermore, Henderson said he spends several hours a week at the high school and has yet to see any student inappropriately dressed.

“I’ve observed in the hallways during the passing period to see if what the students were wearing was really inappropriate,” he said. “I rarely see a child in violation of our current dress code.”

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