“The children who don’t have the means for these uniforms, it’s going to fall on the district,” he said. “Are we going to have a school store where they can buy the uniforms? I believe the financial responsibility is going to fall on the district.
“The high school has 1,600 kids,” Henderson continued. “If 2 percent show up without a uniform, that’s 30 kids. If 5 percent show up without a uniform, that’s 90 kids. Who’s going to deal with them?”
Board member Dr. Randal Ashton said that although he likes the concept of students wearing uniforms, he realizes that mandating uniforms could cause a financial hardship for some families.
“It’s clothes (that have to be bought) in addition to their regular clothes,” he said. “I like uniforms, but I don’t think everyone in the district does. We already have kids who are losing educational time because of discipline issues. Are we going to have kids lose educational time because they didn’t wear a belt?
“I think we have a unique opportunity to be our own laboratory,” Ashton said. “Have three schools in uniforms so we can collect our own data.”
Board president Bill Dobbles said he hadn’t seen any research that says uniforms improve the learning climate.
“Mr. Henderson says he knows of only one public high school in the state (Decatur) that has uniforms, and it’s not working that great,” Dobbles said.
Board member Gina McGuire, whose son attended Northeast Elementary Magnet School where students wear uniforms, said, “It does make a difference in their mindset.
“I think the high school students need (uniforms) more than any of them,” she said. “I know they’re worried they’re going to lose their identity, but if they get a job at Burger King or Taco Bell, they have to wear their uniform.”