Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Dress code debated

Highlands may expand options

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        FORT THOMAS - A proposed new dress code at Highlands Middle School that originally called for only white polo-style shirts might be expanded to include other colors.

        About 40 parents, students and administrators spent more than two hours Tuesday discussing the code, which will take effect when the new school year begins in August in the new middle school building. No decision was made, but the school's site-based council likely will decide at a meeting June 26.

        The council, made up of teachers, parents and middle school principal Mary Adams, decided last week to revamp the current code. The purpose of Tuesday's meeting was to gather input to take back to a separate committee.

        “I think we came to a little better consensus,” Ms. Adams said. “I want it to look simple on paper.”

Small logos
        Stacey Schwartz, who will be 12 years old and in seventh grade when school starts, could handle a dress code with some leeway.

        “(It) should be a variety of colors with some small logos,” Stacey said.

        School clothes have also been one of the hottest topics for several weeks at Shari's on the Avenue, a North Fort Thomas Avenue hair and tanning salon.

Mom, daughter disagree
        Owner Shari Ernst and her 11-year-old daughter, Alex, disagree about what to do. Ms. Ernst likes the idea of a strict code and even uniforms because of what her daughter does on school mornings.

        “That's our biggest battle in the morning,” said Ms. Ernst, 39. “She tries on five different outfits. She'll try one on and throw it down. She's got clean clothes on the floor and on her bed.”

        Countered Alex: “I don't like (uniforms). I think we should wear regular clothes.”

        The proposed code the site-based council drew up last week calls for: Navy, black or khaki slacks, shorts, skirts or jumpers and no blue jeans; white polo-style shirts that may be long or short sleeve or sleeveless; and white or colored Highlands Middle School shirts with a school logo that would be sold at school.

        Tuesday, the grown-ups and children talked about a variety of styles, fabrics and colors for pants, shirts, skirts and sweaters.

Kids will be kids
        Some parents said cargo pants with pockets near the knees were acceptable, while others wanted more traditional flat-pocket styles. As for colors, most said any color would be fine.

        Parents at least agreed pants should not be form-fitting or sagging so much that undergarments show.

        As for shirts, the debate included whether girls may wear crew-neck blouses and whether it would be unfair to limit the boys to shirts with collars.

        “If it has a collar and some buttons and sleeves, you're going to be fine,” said Jane Petracco, a parent who has a son at the middle school.

        Parents seemed to agree on two other things: Clothes should be comfortable; and parents should be able to choose from approved catalogs or shop on their own.

        But Amanda Blau, 11, wasn't sure why Tuesday's meeting was necessary. She said having the same styles in clothing won't reduce peer pressure anyway.

        “Kids'll find other things to tease (each other) about,” she said.


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