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Our School District’s Uniform Follies

| November 20, 2011

Apple fans don;t usually shill for uniforms. From left, Andy Dance, who's opposed to uniforms, Sue Dickinson and Janet Valentine. (© FlaglerLive)

Sometimes you wonder if one branch of local government has any clue what another is doing. We presume our local politicians can and do read, especially when they serve on the Flagler County School Board. You know, all those reports about rising poverty, foreclosed homes, hurting and stressed out families, free lunches. Maybe we presume too much. Facebook is no substitute for thought.

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The school board is considering imposing a uniform policy on its 13,000 students. Where this idea is coming from at a time like this also makes you wonder what sort of connection, if any, our board members have with their community. How strange that a school district so punch-drunk on Apple products that revel in individuality and creativity is wanting to foist the fashion equivalent of police states on their students. (One of those Apple junkets cost you $3,000 so seven staffers and a board member could hop over to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in mid-July for four days’ basking in Apple’s hyper-marketing. You can be sure that they didn’t see uniforms there.)

Put that aside. Put aside all the arguments about clothes not making the person. Put aside the illusory link between uniforms and discipline (they wear orange jumpsuits in prisons, too), or uniforms and grades, or uniforms and character (gang colors being just another variation of uniforms). All those arguments and the evidence behind them are valid of course. But there’s an overriding argument at this moment that ought to resonate more than any in the ears of board members who have any concerns at all for their constituents’ pocketbooks.

Pierre Tristam FlaglerLive editor

Pierre Tristam

The Live Column

Right now, in this county with 14 percent unemployment, league-leading foreclosure rates and rising poverty, only one thing matters regarding uniforms: they’re not cheap. Well over half of Flagler County families with children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school. Uniforms would be the biggest unfunded mandate they’d have to contend with. And look who’s one of the proponents of those things on the school board: Colleen Conklin, who wants to take the state to court over unfunded mandates. The contradiction boggles the mind, particularly from the one board member who’s made empathy a synonym of her policy-making.

The other big proponent is John Fischer, who went hunting for an issue to make his own, found this, and is now banding it about whatever its connection to reality, which isn’t much. He’s got support from Sue Dickinson, the board chairman, who almost got the uniform policy passed in 2007 before student voices beat back the push. Dickinson last month said students should not be allowed to make the decision this time around, though to my way of thinking students in this case should have the loudest voice: this isn’t a curriculum or safety or testing issue. It’s a damn clothing issue. It’s not entirely for students to decide what to wear, obviously. There is a dress code. But no: schools aren’t a business. They’re not corporations. They’re not the military. That’ll come soon enough. Schools are schools. Their aim begins and ends with the needs and development and enrichment of students—not the desires of teachers, principals, school board members or, god forbid, the business community, which will get its claws into students soon enough. What students wear is as much their decision as their parents’, with everyone else, board members included, far behind.

At a town hall meeting last Tuesday, the board heard an overwhelming No on uniforms—“a big fat no,” in the words of a parent who spoke there and sounded to me like she had a Russian accent, which suggests at least some informed familiarity with the gulag mentality. So far it appears that only Andy Dance and Trevor Tucker are listening.

Another supreme hypocrisy: here’s a school board freaking out about charter schools’ drain on its traditional school population one moment, only to start aping charters the next. Charters take to uniforms like cross-dressers to stilettos (but with less style). It’s one of their selling points, evidence not being a major concern of most charters. Now school districts are finding one more way to sell out.

We get it: School boards in Florida are contending with a Legislature that refuses to do what it must to pay adequately for the state’s public education system, preferring to undermine it instead and limiting local boards’ effectiveness to do much with the little that’s left. That doesn’t mean local board members should start grasping at bogus issues to make themselves look important. That’s how the timing of this initiative is suspect–and senseless.

Meanwhile county commissioner Milissa Holland and her army of volunteers are preparing the third annual Feed Flagler, when 4,000 free meals and 1,000 boxes of food with a week’s worth of groceries each will be offered at 11 locations across the county next week, the day before Thanksgiving. Every local government, including the school board, is greatly supportive of the effort, as everyone should be. But do you see the contradiction? This county is hurting. It is hurting so much that when Feed Flagler puts together an event like this coming Wednesday’s, every plate will likely be wiped clean, every one of those food boxes will be claimed. But the school district, which put a food drive together for the effort and is donating two of its school kitchens to prepare the food and opening Buddy Taylor Middle School’s cafeteria to serve it, is still going right ahead with its uniform follies. Is the school board aware of its own bipolar disorder?

Someone should tell Fischer, Conklin and Dickinson to wake up and smell the food stamps. This isn’t the time for uniforms or anything else that amounts to a $100 tax on every family with school children. If Feed Flagler doesn’t ring a bell, maybe the next election should.

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89 Responses for “Our School District’s Uniform Follies”

  1. Justin says:

    I am a 11th gradeder at FPC and I agree with you 100%.They will never pass this thing like in 2007 many many kids would protest this so this uniform thnig is just a waste of time and money.Thank You fro the people who listen to us kids.

  2. mike says:

    Fischer, Conklin and Dickinson need to hit the rode or we are going to be in a big mess next year.

  3. FPC Graduate Class of 2010 says:

    The idea of trying to pass a uniform policy again is ridicoulous. The surveys that were conducted by the District by Email and Phone were not reliable at all. The Parents& Students came out to the Town Hall Meeting and told the board what the majority really wants. The School Board needs to worry about other issues. If somehow this passed, the parents will attempt to get their child exempted from wearing a uniform. The most likely thing to happen will just be a student protest. If they had got this passed 2 years ago, I know for a fact the students would rebel. Passing uniforms would create more problems and make students not want to go to school more than they already do. Attention should be focused on the bus situations, & ways to get some more teachers.

  4. Stewart maxcy says:

    For those of you who know me, I have been in Flagler’s school system for over thirty years. The uniform issue is not new. I believe this will be the third time, in the past several years, it’s been discussed, voted on, and surveyed. My concern is not the costs or how it will make the morning easier on parents, but my concern comes from my own past administrative viewpoint. With the Student Success Act, (senate bill 736) 50% of the teacher evaluation is based on student learning gains. So we’ll say that some students each day don’t dress ” to code” and they must be pulled out of class. A) Who’s going to ” sit with them?” B) How can they learn if they are not in class? Less class time leads to lower student learning gains and therefore has an effect on teacher salaries. It may be just because a parent didn’t wash a uniform, or buy a second set, or the student chooses to wear it inappropriately, or not to wear a uniform because they have attest that day. There does need to be some thought given to how those students who don’t conform will be handled. My concern is simply ,if they are not in class we can’t teach them.

  5. dealingwithidiots1 says:

    You hit it right on the head….well said!

  6. R Lewis says:

    I don’t always agree with your off the wall opinions but this time I do. This is not the time to burden mom and dad or grand ma with the extra expense of uniforms. If the kids wanted to wear uniforms they would go to a private or a charter school.

  7. BEEBob says:

    I bet Mom & Dad spend a lot more money on school clothes now than the cost of uniforms.

  8. Michelle says:

    With having such a poor county right now, what a burden it would be to the parents to buy uniforms. That means two sets of clothes would have to be bought for our kids. Clothes to wear outside of school and uniforms. How is anybody supposed to pay for that? Kids grow so fast! Every year before Christmas you see all the little kids with pants to short because they grew so much over the summer. After Christmas, you see who got new pants for the winter! Point is, most of us would not be able to replace 2 set of clothing after every growth spurt. I’ve seriously considered homeschooling or using virtual schools, if this policy is passed. I can’t afford to start over with uniforms, like most parents. And if the child will be sent out of class because of not having a uniform, whats the diffrence if they are in school?

  9. cathy says:

    I don’t think uniforms will fix the problems they want them to fix. It’s simple the uniform won’t change the people. The poor can’t afford more. The sloppy won’t be neater. Those who can’t do laundry often will be dirty. Those who don’t comply with dress code now still won’t comply. Let’s ask what is it we want dress code to fix and tackle that. The differences in students in public school is what makes it public school. We are what we are and that’s a good thing.

  10. Liana G says:

    Hmmm…everytime I happen to see this editor in public he is always in a white long sleeve shirt and black pants, sometimes a black tie and jacket. I see you have no problem wearing a uniform Pierre? Besides, sneakers are the dirtiest, smelliest things ever and no one washes/changes them daily or weekly.

  11. Student says:

    I can’t believe that that women has the nerve to say that kids dont have an say. Yes we do and I’m tell you that we do not and will not were them….

  12. PCer says:

    Why do people keep harping on two sets of clothes?? Personally, my kids have school clothes and play clothes for after school. Most of their after school stuff would be inappropriate for school. Uniforms would be a help to my budget. I would much rather buy 5 sets of uniforms for each of my kids than all of the in-style stuff that they want. Uniforms are cheaper, check the prices at Target and Walmart.

    On another note, Pierre, you have alluded to students being given the choice. This is not their choice, this should be the choice of parents and the school system. If we were to give students the choice in all matters of education, I am sure they would also vote down homework, studying, and showing up on time. The students should NOT have a voice in this issue.

  13. Tameka McDowell says:

    Mr. Pierre Tristam:

    Will you be volunteering your time on Wednesday at a location to Feed Flagler? I will be…Wickline location to be exact.

    Your Neighbor,
    Tameka McDowell

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Liana, I’m a middle-aged stuffed shirt with the fashion sense of a dust mite, a penchant for white socks and 25-year-old ties my mother used to buy me, 3 for $10, from Chinatown in manhattan, which to me are the height of expression compared to the blue-colored version of brown shirts the Jesuits had us wear in school. I wouldn’t want to impose either aberration on anyone, least of all students who have a now-or never chance to go Tahrir on their wardrobe.

      Tameka, I hope to be running around, hitting as many locations as possible to cover the event for FlaglerLive. We’re also raising close to $2,000 for it (come on, donors).

  14. justin says:

    The school boad don’t get that most parents did’t get the survay and mine are one of them,I bet if they actually asked every sigle parent in flagler county it would be a no for uniforms…

  15. JUST WONDERING says:

    The only time Sue Dickenson opens her mouth is to spend money, not save it. She needs to go!!!! What a waste of taxpayer’s dollars. The question of dress is not during school it is after school, at school functions.
    Are we regulating that also. There is a dress code, why not just inforce that. Lord knows the teachers try, but again it goes back to Mr Maxey if they are not in school they can’t be taught and the school board has already shortend the school day. Let’s take them out for another reason.
    I took my grand daughter to dances last year and the dress is far different for these middle school dances than the regular school day. But then again they got out of their parents cars so it must have been an acceptable form of dress at home. I mean look at the way some of the mothers dress, You can only guide a child so much. The focus should be on academics and grades not dress. That’s just my two cents. Final word GET RID OF DICKENSON!

  16. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    Why should kids have a say? That’s one of the fundamental problems with our school system and our society in general these days. We think we have to have the “kids” approval before we do anything. No we don’t. It’s called parenting and leadership. Parents and Educators need to make decisions as to what is best for the children, not kids.

    If (big emphasis on if) uniforms have a tract record of improving the overall academic environment in school systems that employ uniforms, then they should be implemented regardless of little Billy or Jane’s precious opinion.

  17. Outsider says:

    I don’t understand everyone complaining about the cost of the uniforms; have you priced out a pair of Abercrombie skinny jeans or shirt lately? My kids want a lot of things; I can afford a lot of things; I say “no” way more than I say “yes.” If you can’t tell your kids they hae to wear a uniform then you probably have a tough time telling them they can’t go to that underage drinking party or out meandering with their friends the night before Halloween.

  18. justin says:

    People you have to buy uniforms and regular clothes and kids should have a say in this we are the ones who are going to suffer, not the people that have no lives and want us kids to ware uniforms you people should not have a say, And they did the survay so wrong they did not do it to all the parents and some never got them!!!!!!

  19. mike says:

    You know who needs to go more then dicksion fisher,They both need to hit the rode!!!!

  20. More Amazed Every Day says:

    Uniforms are the answer….why can’t they have the option like in other cities where the parents can sign a waiver that they do not have to wear uniforms. Uniforms are costly and it is much easier for those without all the money to buy their children cheaper clothes or even clothes they already have. Must be nice for those that don’t have to worry about money!!!!

  21. Justin says:

    Drop out rate going to go up and lots of kids going to switch schools and i am one of them…..

  22. BE HONEST says:

    I believe in uniforms. When i went to school you were identified by the uniform colors and if you did something wrong the people in your neighborhood would call the school and tell the Principal all about the incident and believe me if someone saw you they would Rat you at and you were made accountable for you actions. I believe they make you humble and you are not sterio typing another classmate for the shoes or clothes they are wearing. They make you want treat and see every one as an equal. I wore uniforms all my life and it has made me a humble adult . I truly believe in them…

  23. mike says:

    I hear a occupy no uniform movment if this passes

  24. EE!2 says:

    Uniforms in PUBLIC schools are unconstitutional anyway!!! The Supreme Court ruled in the Tinker v. Des Moines case that they are unconstitutional.

  25. mike says:

    It’s not about the money for me it’s how it goes against my religion i don’t know what i would do if it passes

  26. Binkey says:


    You mean if someone in the neighborhood saw someone misbehave in the neighbor, it was school’s responsibility???

    Decisions about changes should be based on do the changes improve education by making it more efficient, or more effective.

  27. Liana G says:

    @ Pierre…Jesuits uniforms? You and Francois Marie Arouet have a lot in common…there goes that discipline, focus, and structure – brings out the real Tahrir in people – The rest is tool for distraction. Funny you used Apple – Steve Jobs wore a uniform – black long sleeve turtleneck, jeans, grey snickers, and glasses (he couldn’t be bothered with wearing contacts), and Oscar Wilde wrote “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months”, so you’re in good company.

    Jonny Taxpayer, we agree on something at last. When my kids start contributing to the BILLS, they will get a say. They will not work while in school either, I don’t believe in that. As it is, they will be spending most of their lives slaving for the man/corporation so I want them to enjoy their childhood and learn to value down time.

    I heard someone locally is interested in opening another charter school. More competition is good. To the parents who say that parents wanting school uniforms should enroll their kids in private school. Please advocate for school choice/vouchers. We will be more than happy to remove our kids from public schools but unfortunately we do not have the resources to pay both the 59%? property taxes that go towards public schools, and pay for private school tuition at the same time. School vouchers would allow our tax dollars to pay for the schools of our choice. This is a win win solution for everyone.

  28. tamapanative says:

    EE!2 Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) had nothing to do with uniforms and it did not state that the schools could not institute a dress code or have uniforms. The issue at hand was whether a group of students who were wearing black armbands in protest to the Vietnam War had a right to do so under the First Amendment.
    “The problem posed by the present case does not relate to regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing, [508] to hair style, or deportment. Cf. Ferrell v. Dallas Independent School District, 392 F.2d 697 (1968); Pugsley v. Sellmeyer, 158 Ark. 247, 250 S. W. 538 (1923). It does not concern aggressive, disruptive action or even group demonstrations. Our problem involves direct, primary First Amendment rights akin to “pure speech.”

    The school officials banned and sought to punish petitioners for a silent, passive expression of opinion, unaccompanied by any disorder or disturbance on the part of petitioners. There is here no evidence whatever of petitioners’ interference, actual or nascent, with the schools’ work or of collision with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly, this case does not concern speech or action that intrudes upon the work of the schools or the rights of other students.”

    This case would be similar today to students wearing pink armbands in October and other forms of pure speech that are protected under the First Amendment. The states and school boards still have a right to institute a dress code and uniforms. If they do go with uniforms they must provide a waiver to those students and parents who do not wish to wear the uniforms.

  29. mike says:

    Be honest It’s call a protest and Yes kids would protest and not ware them i guarantee it!!!!!!!!!

  30. Justin says:

    Go on Face Book and type in No to school uniforms in Flagler County. and we are going to show them who is boss

  31. Anonymous says:

    Unlike 2007 many parents are not for uniforms, and i don’t think it’s going to pass and if it did kids would rebel and more problems for the county , and i find it hard that i pay taxes and im going to have to pay for kids uniforms, Yea right this is not going to pass if we all tell them that we don’t want and don’t need uniforms.Thanks.

  32. Former Student says:

    As a recent graduate I agree with with “mike” about an “occupy no uniform movement”
    The few parents that think this is a good idea obviously don’t care about the children this will be actually effect. Times have changed from your generation. Now a days it is a completely stupid idea to try to get this passed. If you ignore the students voices and this gets passed, the first day of school next year will be very interesting. 1 of 2 things will happen, either the Students won’t show up or they will show up and not be wearing the uniforms. The parents are AGAINST uniforms, if you payed attention during the Town Hall Meeting you would see that. Mr. Maxy was a great principal and his opinion was dead on correct. You people that are for uniforms, send your kids to Charter Schools IF you even have kids in this District. It seems half of the parents that were for uniforms at the Town Hall Meeting didn’t even have kids that went to the Public Schools.

    Have fun debating, I know who I won’t vote for in the next election.

  33. Justin says:

    Sorry for my name i hate this phone and yea no for uniforms wate of time nobody is going 2 ware them you will see people watch…

  34. Kip Durocher says:

    It is amazing that in this financial and social climate the Flagler County School Board members have the time and effort to play with/at issues such as this. Sad comment on their priorities and abilities.
    Remember voters ~ the unqualified new member you just elected brought this silliness to his new seat.

  35. Nancy N. says:

    PC’er – you obviously have an older child if you are talking about your child having after school clothes that are inappropriate for school. My 8 year old has a single wardrobe that she wears all the time. And even when she’s 18 she will not be allowed to buy clothes that she can’t wear to school – it’s my job as her parent to draw that line about what is appropriate. It would be a major budget buster for me to have to buy a second wardrobe of uniforms that she can only wear to school. Not to mention that I don’t have the closet space to store them, or the time to wash two sets of clothes.

    Johnny Taxpayer – you are right. My kid doesn’t get to make the decision about what is appropriate for her to wear to school. **I** do, as her mother. Not some school board administrator, or a majority vote of the district’s other parents. ME. Only I know what my daughter specifically needs and what is appropriate FOR HER as an individual. The school should stick to teaching her and leave the parenting to me.

    I also was under the impression that we have a significantly sized migrant population that moves through this district – uniforms will be a massive barrier to them enrolling their children.

    It’s no coincidence that in 2007 one of the major proponents of uniforms in this district was the local Chamber of Commerce. They stand to make buckets of money if we are forced to buy all those extra clothes for our kids.

  36. mike says:

    For a public school uniform policy to be legal, it has to have an opt out provision. Every child in this country has the right to a public school education, and that right cannot be conditioned upon compliance with a uniform policy. Some parents and children will have religious objections to uniforms. Others won’t want to participate for aesthetic reasons.

  37. Outsider says:

    Well, I have to agree with one thing: if some of these students’ grammar is any indication of the general student populace, we DO have bigger fish to fry than uniforms. I can’t wait for another charter school to open, particularly if it has a uniform policy; you can then watch the public school populace drop by 65%. Come on Imagine….get that high school going! I need it next year…..

  38. Heather parent of 4 says:

    This is like just like 2007 but parents are speeking up early and they don’t want unifoms and we are not going to get them!

  39. Outsider says:

    I rest my case.

  40. Tom says:

    I agree on the occupy no uniform movement that would be so funny!

  41. the truth says:

    Yeah, Im a student at fpc and i already have hundreds of people that said they would protest, waste of money honestly people will switcsh school.. I promise if this passes we will make you step into hell. You think kids get in enough trouble becuase of being talked down to from rude teachers and stuborn, inconsiderate deans just wait the uniforms would be the cherry on the top, I’m just saying I wouldn’t do it cuz fpc.. well flagler county schools will not be a learning enviroment (well a half ass learning environment) they will be a zoo filled with angrey teachers and even more angerier ralled up protesting students.

  42. thinkforyourself says:

    For the students here – I don’t think it’s wise to “threaten” anyone. You can opt out of the policy with your parents permission. So let’s bring the drama down a notch or two.

  43. Student says:

    No kids have voices and know body I know is going 2 ware them I can promise u that … :)

  44. Crackercoast says:

    The way to make all sides happy is easy!
    If the students all went in the nude….. They would all be in uniform!
    There were be no way to conceal weapons and drugs.
    There would be no cost to parents.
    The teachers and administrators could go nude also.. It would cover some of the 3% they have to pay toward retirement!.
    Sounds like a win win to me!
    But that will never pass either! In fact this post probably won’t get printed either!

  45. FPC 11th grader says:

    God,it’s so funny how the people that want uniforms don’t listen 2 us kids wow I can’t wait for this protest I’m 100% In on this bring it on.

  46. Tax payer says:

    You tell them kids, We all want no to uniforms!

  47. I Pay School Taxes in Flagler says:

    So, as a home owner who actually pays taxes here.

    I am against uniforms. For oh so many reasons.

    The impact on my tennants for one … I want them to pay thier rent … call it selfish. I already had one tennant let me know if this goes through they will not renew thier lease.

    In this economy it is tough at best to keep decent tennants. In the last few years I have really had to struggle to keep above water because of the economy… This is just one more thing that can potentially hose us in this county.

    Uniforms are a chioce, the clear choice is no.

    No to the extra cost, no to a policy that will drive more people out of the county … no to the whole thing.

  48. Madlyn Also A Tax Payer says:

    Its obvious to me that nobody wants them, Like most people I supported the uniforms last time now, this

    time I don’t.This county is to poor and if the kids at the schools aren’t going to ware them then what’s

    the point we would pay for there uniforms and nobody would ware them. So I’m and you also tax payers

    should tell what we think and simply we should say. No school uniforms, at least not right now.

  49. Full of Rage Parent says:

    Okay first thing’s first, I HATE putting my children in uniforms… It takes away from who they are. Second If I wanted to send my children to a private school, I WOULD HAVE! THIS IS WHY I CHOSE PUBLIC SCHOOLING!
    All this extra costing of clothing is ridiculos. It will cost me over 100$ each per student. Thats just in shirts and pants/skirts. Not to mention those in need who cannot afford to get food to feed their family. How are THEY going TO get THE MONEY for this silly idea? I think they are trying to strip our children of their originality. This is insane. I wont stand for it, If this is passed Im sending my children in what they normally wear for school. Graphic t-shirt and Jeans and Sneakers. I dont care if they get into trouble because what I’ll say is, I DONT HAVE THE MONEY TO MAKE THEM LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! I WILL PULL MY CHILDREN OUT of this district if they do anything to harm my childrens educational value/life. I am one parent that will not stand for this mess the flagler county has created if they pass this stupid issue.

    Thanks for letting my opinion be heard.

    A parent that will not stand for this mess!

  50. Parent of 3 says:

    I am also sending my children in there regular outfits they are not warring a uniforms in a public school.

  51. stephanie says:

    I agree with the kids. I’m not sending my two sons with uniforms on, What a joke and evey parent on here sould do the same.

  52. palmcoaster says:

    Why are the current school Board and administrators wasting this time and energy and enraging so many with this school uniforms issue, right now in such a miserable economy, when food on the table and roof over one’s head, is the number one concern. Wrong time to choose this issue.
    First of all as being such a hot potato with so much opposition to it…should have been left for better economic times…Then maybe the school will provide the first set of uniforms at no charge to the one’s that can’t afford it and offer some appealing reward to the students to wear them…For example some scholarship $$. Don’t these school officials have better fish to fry? I see a lot of more important issues than uniforms, that are really needed to enhance our students morale and encourage them to improve on their subjects and curriculum. Use your energy and brains finding ways on a safe and fair manner to display media in school property to generate additional revenue “to fill in for the budget cuts”,etc etc.
    Maybe the current school officials want to memorialize themselves as the historical leaders of the uniformed students policy in this county…? Would not surprise me, as a lot of magnetizing ME ME ME and even monuments to myself, gets flashed around often by elected ones here, while they forget the best interest of the citizens that voted them in.

  53. Liana G says:

    @Crackercoast: LOL – thanks for the laugh!!

    For the poster who said to make the parents who want uniform suffer. You are correct the parents are suffering, and let’s include their children also, and they will continue to suffer but not for the reasons you are attributing to.

    Here is how that suffering is taking place: We, the parents that support uniforms have a vested interest in ensuring that access to a quality education is received because access to a quality education benefits everyone, especially when the time comes for them to struck out and make it in this world, when the parents will no longer be there for them, and when the state may not have the resources to give them hand-outs. But that access to a quality education is very difficult to pursue when learning is impeded by the bombardment of irrelevant and harmful distraction that curtails focus – necessary for critical and higher order thinking.

    My family does our share to help society and those in need. We feel it is our obligation and responsibility to do our part by paying it forward. We are fortunate that we are able to do so, which would not have be possible without access to a quality education. I see this access being denied when the distraction in the classroom overwhelming interferes with learning.

    My husband and I are by no means from a privileged background. I lost my dad at age 4 and my mom never remarried (she did not want a stranger among her daughters, was her reason). Myself and my 3 siblings went to state sponsored uniform wearing Catholic school. We’ve all done relatively well for ourselves given our circumstances. (In my country if girls were not married before the age of 20 they were considered old maids and chances of getting married were slim unless the family had money, so the norm was to marry right after graduating high school, which prepared us to be great home-makers).

    My husband lost his dad at age 11 and his mom never remarried. He was the 1 son among 4 daughters and did his best to help his mom. He wished he had uniforms because wearing the few pairs of jeans and t-shirts he had would not have made him standout and feel inferior among the haves. Depending on the individual, that can either be a distraction and strong enough reason to drop out of school, or it can encourage motivation. Fortunately for him, he used it as his motivation, but during his time, the distractions were minor because discipline was strictly enforced. I am proud of my husband, flaws and all, and grateful for his school. It helped him to become the person he is.

    Please advocate for school vouchers, this way everyone gets a choice.

    It takes a village…

  54. palmcoaster says:

    I agree that Dickinson has to go along with Fisher, that almost killed me with his stabbing eyes because I confused him with Tucker in one occasion, (as I never seeing both together) and sorry my error… was not enough satisfaction to the offense. Regarding Colleen Conklin, I am shocked that she is for uniforms too…What ever happened to her?

  55. another angry parent says:

    Liana G why can’t you just buy a few collared shirts and a few pants for the whole year and then you save money that way instead of making the tax payers suffer.

  56. class of 2012 says:

    For people saying students should NOT have a voice in this is is wrong, unifoms are NOT the answer.Kids and parents are going to protest just like in duval county nobody wore them, and the unifom thing was foced out after that so yea thats whats going to happen.

  57. Anonymous says:

    You can’t force 13,000 kids 2 ware uniforms.

  58. Tameka McDowell says:

    The adoption of a mandatory uniform policy is an option that could potentially ensure effective adherence to proposed uniform policy. Simply stated, dress codes state what must NOT be worn; uniform policies state what must BE worn. The distinction is important, particularly in light of legal challenges.

    What we do know is that the adherence to current dress code policy is subject to varying degrees of interpretations and warrants a closer look at either the option to strengthen and enforce dress code policy or eventually implement mandatory uniform policy.

    According to credible documented research on past and recent history regarding uniform adoption; discussion on the matter has been and always will be among one of the many and highly debatable topics revisited by not only the (year 2007 and current) Flagler County School Board Members, school administrators, teachers, parents and, students; also countless others across the nation and abroad, respectively.

    As a result of some of these lengthy uniform debate(s), some School Boards only to have tempered their approaches by enacting stricter dress codes for which in my opinion doesn’t resolve the matter yet reinvent it. “Same soup warmed over.”

    Tameka McDowell
    CEO and Ambassador to the McDowell Family

  59. mike says:

    Also i might add in the kids smoke in the schools bath rooms and i think some teachers do it to. So you people that don’t go to Fpc or Mhs witch I think MHS is worst then fpc, you will wait and see on the first day of school next year is going to be a ZOO some people are going to ware them then the majority of them won’t so then the kids that are warring them will stop and there you go Like someone said- you can’t foce 10,000 kids to ware unifoms this is not like a few years ago this is 2011 ware there are many protest around the world right now and will be in the school system.

  60. w.ryan says:

    It amazes me how individual expression cannot be seen as a asset to student development! To thwart creativity diminishes quality of life for many of these children we seem to want to control. It’s shameful how so many of you advocates seem to want our children to be drones to this militaristic system with a view that with a stern hand and zero tolerance our children and all of America would be better off. It’s funny how parents are chastised for parenting and to compound matters both parents are forced to work to afford to cloth and feed our children. It seems intentional. Don’t punish the victims. Uniforms brings to my mind memories of photo’s I had seen of Imperial Japan and Germany Pre-WWII. The amount of money wasted in this effort is astounding. Let’s realize the technical growth and achievements made with the encouragement in creativity and a nurturing environment. Why wait till Jan3rd to decide the outcome. It’s quite clear that power corrupts. The voice of the Parents and in particular the kids that have to comply has spoken. If the decision is for uniforms it’s time to get true representation.

  61. cj says:

    sooo the school board is proposing that we send our kids to school in uniforms. Then what will teachers and staff and administrators be wearing? Currently, I see many in jean shorts, jean capris, jean pants, t-shirts and flip flops. School board and it’s employees need to lead by example.

  62. Liana G says:

    @ another angry parent: I see you have missed my point completely. My kids do wear basic clothing. It’s the distraction of what others wear that is interfering with their learning and those of others that is the issue here.

    Mr Ryan it is our so-called creative, self-expressive, individualistic culture that has created our current militaristic society/military industrial complex, deep income inequalities, and an education system -once renowned – that is now responsible for the dumbing down of our society. Just check out the websites of some of our ‘A+’ local schools for evidence. I could cut and paste but I don’t want to single them out. Yes, I do like to troll our local schools and district websites to see what’s going on.

    FlaglerLive currently has an article up “Our Ailing Superiority Complex”. Look at the percentage that still say we are superior. As long as the majority continues to see America this way, there will be no incentive to correct the serious problems plaguing our country. And mind you, these are the folks involved enough to take the time to respond to the survey.

    It is worth pointing point out that when people do not have the resources to spend, their little indulgences/collections and generosities are firsts on their budget to get axed. Case in point, many colleges have lost their endowments or saw a reduction in their endowments amounts resulting in less scholarships being offered (some even had to sell of their donated art collection). The ACLU lost a donor who made annual donations totaling millions of dollars. And NPR had to sell their Orlando TV station because viewer support/pledge fell by 34%. These are all vital programs and services that do benefit society even though some may not care to think so.

  63. Former Student says:

    The School District has no reason to implement uniforms; except to say they accomplished something (even though it would be stupid). Every survey done is inaccurate. The survey for the teachers that showed a vote of majority of uniforms for students is bogus, all they were thinking about was for themselves. If they thought they would have to wear them too, the number wouldn’t of been so high. We all know it would probably impossible to get a uniform policy enforced for staff because the union will shut it down.( Which I agree with) The students, nor staff should have to wear mandated uniforms. The current dress code needs to be enforced by better people for the students and staff (since people complain about teacher’s flip flops).
    I think some of the board needs to go, when are some seats up for elections? Next year?? Maybe they need some younger people on that school board. I went to Flagler Schools from Kindergarten till I graduated. If anyone knows the what’s wrong with this School District it’s me.

    To current students: don’t give up, just be careful with the threats. Get your parents to keep complaining Also remind your friends that graduated recently in 2010 & 2011 to be careful voting when the next school board election comes up. Good Luck!

  64. Anonymous says:

    No 2 school uniforms ;)

  65. Mike says:

    Mandatory or not I am not warring it!

  66. No to uniforms says:

    So it’s ok for people around the world tp protest over stupid stuff but kids can”t protest because it’s school? Yea right if this thing passes the whole county is going to protest you watch and see. but being serious the schools need to beeter inforce the drees code but they can’t stop the all of the students from warring uniforms if it passes….

  67. Yahlisia McDowell says:

    One, I would like to say Mike its “wearing” I HIGHLY suggest before commenting on anything online pick up a dictonary. It is almost impossible to make a mistake with today’s technology!

    Futhermore, Mr. Tristam, I understand that everyone is entitled to an opnion but what you’re doing is causing unnecessary drama and friction to the matter. A TRUE journalist would strive to keep his/her articles neutral and within reason with compassion for all parties involved including your loyal readers. In additon, a journalist that is commited to his/her work wouldn’t lash out in anger and “brow beat.” It’s unfair that you pass such harsh judgement on an monumental and seemingly emotional issue such as the possibility of a passage for uniform policy within the District upon our hardworking and dedicated elected public officals. Another thing, don’t use words out of context the word bipolar does not apply to this matter again……. “brow beating”. We all have to live work and play in this community ya’ know.

    “Freshie” Class Of 2015 at FPC
    Yahlisia McDowell

  68. Lenny says:

    Yahlisia McDowell I disgree with you.A writer is a person just like us and they are in entitled to there own

    opinion so if you don’t like it ,then don’t read it it’s as simple as that!

  69. Cheryl Tristam says:

    Commenting under several different names to give the impression that your opinion has more validity and support is rather juvenile, and so they won’t be approved. The lecturing tone gave you away.

  70. Yahlisia says:

    Lenny……”Wise men speak beacuse they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” -Plato

    If you don’t like what I had to say.. Why read it? Exactly… take your own advice before correcting someone elses.

  71. Shutupalready... says:

    Grammer write goodly on thes sight!

    All kidding aside though, those students who are screaming about the injustice this brings upon them and the ones claiming they will not wear the uniforms? No biggie. They get sent home. So go ahead, kiddies. Rebel! Wal-Mart can always use cashiers and somebody has to take my order at Wendy’s in the future.

  72. Jake says:

    yahlisia, you spelled dictionary wrong. so before commenting about other peoples spelling, pick up your dictionary

  73. The HeathenAngel says:

    Ah yes… School Uniforms have come back to the table for discussion.

    You know, I watched a really good documentary on school uniforms and their effectiveness the other day, it’s not a new idea. The only problem is that the documentary was from the 1930s and it was narrated in German, so I didn’t quite get much of what they were saying.

    So first, the Fascists try to make them think alike and steal their individuality, and now they want them to dress and look alike too. Well.. Sieg Heil and all that.

  74. Former Student says:

    The School District can not turn the students away. Every student is entitled to an education. If you want uniforms tell someone that cares, because the majority of us don’t.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think It would pass and if it did to many kids would protest and if they did send all the kids home teachers would be out of a job so they can’t just send kids home it would not work

  76. For the kids says:

    I think you got it wrong, the school will not send 2000 kids home, The teachers will be out of a job and

    then school bord would also be out and so fouth, so protesting is a great idea nobody can stop the

    students they are apart of our future.The poeple that don’t have kids in school system needs to stay out

    of this,You are the ones that don’t have a voice, the students of flagler county are the one who can decide

    weather they want it or not, and like many poeple are saying their would just be a protest in the school

    system including the parents so kids, they can’t just send you home that won’t sove anything and the

    state won’t let that happen.

  77. Tamicka says:

    I a former student at Atlantic Coast High School and we have or should i say had uniforms. Yea many kids protested and the school just went back to the old poilcy they had so that’s whats going to happen :))))

  78. Anonymous says:

    Yeah it’s funny how everyone is saying that you can just send the kids home, that can not happen if the parents are the ones sending them to school and you need to let the kids have a voice in this or else….

  79. Anonymous says:

    If this thing did not work a few years ago when Flagler county was a small town. What makes you think that it’s going 2 work now when we are now a city? Can someone please tell me that? I would’ve love to know how the students and might I add the parents are going 2 comply with this now? Oh I know how, THEY ARE NOT GOING 2!

  80. Anonymous says:

    Uniform’s truly take away kids free speech and freedom of religion many people on here don’t go too school and they don’t know what really goes on in the school system,many teachers don’t care what students ware and I highly doubt that they are going to inforce something that they have to ware, see if the teachers don’t want them then what makes you think that they will actually care if they are in uniform or not, becuase that pole they did to the teachers is worng, every teacher in high school does not want uniforms and they really don’t give a crap if it is mandtory or not they are not going to inforce it and that’s going to be a big problem when students,patents,and teachers do not want uniforms in Flagler county public schools!

  81. ERICA says:


  82. Thank U says:

    Thank you for all of the parents and students agiast unifoms, and let your voice be herd at the next meeting dec 7.

  83. Beth says:

    I do not support the use of unifoms in school! For one thing is the laundry, most kids ware the same outfit all day long. Well if the students have to wear unifoms, Do you think that they would wear them all day? Parents think unifoms are cheap but if you really sit down and do the math they are not! Just do the math and decide for yourself.

  84. Anonymous says:

    It discomforts me that Mr Fishers wife I still not changed with a crime maybe he should be too.

  85. w.ryan says:

    The next School Board meeting is at Matanzas. Why? They have invited someone from another school district that has a uniform policy. Obviously he is pro uniforms. He is on that districts school board. We know where this is going already. Sounds like our school board members need replacing. They have fudged results from a telephone poll. I didn’t didn’t get a call. They seem to have ignored the last meeting with the super majority apposed to uniforms and have schedule yet another meeting in deviance to the majority. Sadly, tasers didn’t have as much debate or fanfare.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Yes at the meeting at Matanzas the overwhelming turnout at the FPC meeting that was almost entirely against uniforms was described by Ms Dickinson (I think it was) as a low turnout with very mixed opinions and “not a controversy”. Revisionist history at its best.

  86. Linda Morgan says:

    I think that if the school board does vote for uniforms, they should consider phasing them in. It will be very hard on high school students to adjust, as well and middle school, but if you start at elementary school and phase it in with those students, it will happen over time and the adjustments will be less stressful.

  87. Gray says:

    You guys are wrong to put uniforms on us….it’s not right we should be able to vote and express r feelings but no we can’t because we would be the ones that would not let uniforms go through.

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