The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 5, 2014

D118 to look at cuts, uniforms

DANVILLE — Danville District 118’s proposed student uniform standard of dress code is expected to be discussed by school board members Wednesday night.

The proposal has been on public display since the last school board meeting on March 12.

“The administrative proposal was presented at the last meeting, but there will be no action taken,” Superintendent Mark Denman said.

School board members could vote on the uniform standard of dress at their April 23 meeting. School officials have said they want to allow parents and students the maximum amount of time to prepare for any transition.

If approved, the uniform standard of dress will be implemented districtwide for all students in grades K-12 beginning next school year.

The idea of a uniform standard of dress resurfaced in January after parents rejected a similar plan in August 2011. Several local ministers appeared at school board meetings this fall and winter to speak 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. Opponents, however, believe uniforms will not curb bullying nor improve learning. Some parents with multiple children in the district claim buying uniform clothes in addition to their children’s everyday clothes would create a financial hardship for them.

At a Jan. 22 school board meeting, board members voted 6-1 to implement a uniform standard of dress districtwide next school year, with board member Dr. Randal Ashton casting the dissenting vote.

Since the January vote, Associate Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat has conducted 22 separate meetings and met with more than 200 people, including parents, students and faculty members, to collect input on uniform dress suggestions.

For the proposal, the district used suggestions gathered in 2011, when parents were last surveyed about possibly implementing uniforms, as the framework for the new policy.

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