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In Quiet Coda to Controversy, School Board Unanimously Approves Uniform Policy Details

| February 7, 2012

It could be worse. (Luca De Vito)

No throngs, no placard-waving, no last-minute please for reconsideration. On a cold, drizzly evening that kept most seats before it vacant, the Flagler County School Board Tuesday approved a 1,000-word rewrite of the district’s dress code, all but officially instituting what it calls a “uniform policy” starting next fall, but that really only dresses up the existing dress code in somewhat stricter guidelines.

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The board had been divided on uniforms, with Andy Dance and Trevor Tucker opposing uniforms and Sue Dickinson, Colleen Conklin and John Fischer favoring the switch. On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to move ahead with the new policy.

Tucker and Dance hadn’t changed their mind so much as they were displaying the more collegial nature of the board: they’d lost the battle against uniforms, but they’d also agreed to support the majority beyond that point and remained an integral part of the crafting of the policy. So they joined their colleagues in approving it.

Tuesday’s action approved advertising the policy for 30 days. Theoretically, advertising it allows for public input, presumably to allow for further deliberation by the board and, based on that input, the possibility of a change of mind. In reality, advertising the policy is a formality. The advertised policy appears in fine print in one newspaper in legal advertising columns few people read, and few people, least of all the board members, expect to see the matter revived before the final vote formalizing the policy adoption at the board’s second meeting in March.

The uniform policy can be summed up this way: only collared shirts may be worn, but the shirts may be of any of three district colors (black, white and gray) plus two additional colors that each school may choose. Khakis or jeans may be worn (shorts or long pants). So can some accessories, and a allowance for a variety of shoeware–for high school students–too long to list. (See the full policy below.)

There was a more substantial development: the school board had been reconsidering whether and to what extent middle and high school students would be required to wear their school identification cards. Right now the decision is left up to principals, who can themselves choose whether to require students to wear IDs or not. The board was considering making the ID policy more universal by incorporating it in the uniform policy. That’s what it approved Tuesday evening, thus making ID wearing a requirement at both high schools and both middle schools–and removing principals’ discretion from that equation.


And yes, there are medical and religious exemptions: “The Superintendent, in consultation with the principal, may waive the school uniform policy on a case-by-case basis for reasons such as, but not limited to, medical necessity or sincerely held religious belief, documented by a medical physician or religious leader.”

Only a handful of people spoke to the board about the policy, none with the sort of passions that had attended previous meetings on the matter. One individual made the odd analogy that American soldiers are “in foxholes” and in uniform in Afghanistan protecting Americans’ freedoms–to wear uniforms, though it’s more likely that those soldiers have been defending an Afghan culture that forbids its adult women to appear anywhere public without the mother of all uniforms: the head-to-toe burqa.

Flagler County Schools Uniform Policy, as Advertised

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36 Responses for “In Quiet Coda to Controversy, School Board Unanimously Approves Uniform Policy Details”

  1. Justin says:

    Good luck next year trying to enforce this!

  2. Jana DiNatale says:

    Pathetic. Make then wear shirts with the school logo that are handed out on the first day of school PAID FOR BY THE SCHOOL. Last time I checked, I live in The United States of America, so let’s go this route…have everyone have a shirt emblazoned with the US Flag. Therefore, there will not be any concern of who goes to what school or who does stuff with that particular school. I want to see the team uniforms no mater sport, music, etc…said student is involved with..make it white or GREY! PATHETIC! oOOoOO, but HIGH SCHOOLERS can wear Flip -Flops…hahahaha and NO SPECIFIC COLOR! haha! I say everyone wear HOT PINK!!!

  3. TTeleven says:

    What a bunch of Adolfs.

  4. Bye-Bye says:

    Hope you all enjoyed your stay on the Board. If you don’t serve the constituents, they won’t serve you come election time.

  5. Ernie Toth via Facebook says:

    I’m sure the school board members would have loved to wear uniforms in their high school years. Let’s see their yearbook pics?

  6. Alyssa Dane via Facebook says:

    No Child in Uniform Left Behind…

  7. FlaglerNative says:

    Just wanted to let all of you know..uniforms aren’t going to do ______(you all fill in the blank). When my son was 5 and started Kindergarten he went to a great school supposedly, right here in Florida. Uniforms were a must there, and the policy was twice as tough as this dinky one. So I did what any parent would do I followed the uniform policy but I went out and bought Tommy Hilfiger everything. Down to his socks. 2 weeks into his Kindergarten year and he was jumped, and beat by a minority and had all of his clothing ripped from his body. Imagine my horror when I got the call that my son needed me to bring him clothes to school because he was nude. So did their uniforms help the kids to have better attitutes?? Did it stop these little punks from beating my son??? Did it do what it was intended to do?? I think not. I went to the school, then to the county and withdrew him immediately and began the daunting task of homeschooling, which I continue still today.
    It seems to me that uniforms are just a beginning to an end. They aren’t going to do anything. They aren’t going to make kids “want” to be there or help them all blend as one. It’s only raping them of their individualism. Which is crucial at their age. Also If a child wants to wear saggy pants, or gang colors, or a ripped up shirt that’s revealing or w/e, they will and do find ways. In my honest opinion, and seeing the uniform policies in other Florida areas in action I think it’s an absolute, and total waste of time and expense.
    The county is going to do what it wants..so at this point all of you have basically two choices: you can try to just talk up the uniform issue to your kids and “hope” they adhere to it..or the better choice…. manage your finances if possible, cut corners here and there and withdraw your kids and homeschool…just remember if your kids aren’t in the school system then the county doesn’t get any money from “uncle sam”. Hit’em where it hurts..and then see how quick this whole uniform policy..just fades away.

    • Nancy N says:

      “The county is going to do what it wants..so at this point all of you have basically two choices: you can try to just talk up the uniform issue to your kids and “hope” they adhere to it..or the better choice…. manage your finances if possible, cut corners here and there and withdraw your kids and homeschool…just remember if your kids aren’t in the school system then the county doesn’t get any money from “uncle sam”. Hit’em where it hurts..and then see how quick this whole uniform policy..just fades away.”

      Unfortunately not all of us have those options. My child has a disability and requires special educational help that I am not qualified to provide to her (and which isn’t available in private schools either), not to mention that I have to work full time to support her as a solo parent. So I don’t have the option of home schooling and am trapped taking the shaft from the school board.

  8. Doug Chozianin says:

    I love the class photo of Baghdad High at the head of he story.

    Since the Flagler School Board can’t effect school educational policies that actually teach students, student uniforms will provide a better learning environment. If this doesn’t help, then we have to focus (finally) on the real problem, fire incompetent teachers, especially reading and math teachers. (See 2011 FCAT Scores and Florida School Rankings.)

    Sooooooooo, stop the whining and go along with the program!

  9. concerned parent says:

    i here the kids are talking about protesting the uniform policy by doing badly on the FCAT on purpose. can they do that? What would happen

    • Doug Chozianin says:

      It’s an idea that ‘d expect from an uneducated student body.

      Let them flunk everything and really protest school uniforms. Result: No admission to college (2 or 4 year) and early qualification for food stamps. Forgetabout unemployment, you need a job first.

      Parents of protesting students, forgetabout empty-nest-syndrome. You’ll never have it as long as you live!!!

  10. G I Fred says:

    I say we put those little snot nose rugrats into military uniforms.Make them salute the teachers. If they mis-behave, put them in a school brig. Let the sheriff dept. taser them if they refuse to conform….Heil Flagler !

  11. 2Much@Risk says:

    Oh yeah… kids can do poorly on FCAT as a protest just like no one can show up for school the 2 weeks of FCAT to protest FCAT. No one will do it though because to much is at risk by doing either of those things.

  12. Ralph Belcher says:

    My Congratulations goes out to Kommandant John Fischer.

  13. roco says:

    Concerned Parent… Kids don’t have to pretend to do bad on the FCAT. Look where we are in the rankings for Florida schools.. Parents learn how to dress your kids and make them look respectable instead of homeless.

  14. OKES Parent says:

    My child already dresses within the current dress code policy. He looks well respected and not homeless. I don’t see how a uniform policy will make the teachers better educators or the children better learners. Obviously there is more than clothing as an issue.

    Unless someone can prove to me that wearing a white shirt instead of yellow will make a child increase his/her test scores, I will disagree 100% with this new dress code policy. How is a black shirt better than red? Gray is better than green? Really??

  15. Nancy N says:

    I think there’s an error in your write-up. The text of policy allows black for bottoms but not tops.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Nancy, you’re right in so far as the wording of the policy submitted to the board Tuesday was concerned, but during discussion last night it’s our understanding that they chose to amend that–it was in Trevor Tucker’s motion–to include black tops, collared shirts and outer garments included.

      • Nancy N says:

        Thanks for the clarification Pierre. I’m glad to hear that they are trying to give us more color options at least (Thank you Mr Tucker) but wish they weren’t all so dark and masculine and inappropriate for little girls.

        • FlaglerLive says:

          One more note Nancy: at one point one of the board members (I think it was Conklin, who participated by phone from DC), suggested that the third district color should be pink, thus adding a sense of femininity to the dour colors. The suggestion was taken more as jesting and quickly dropped.

  16. Nancy N says:

    “No throngs, no placard-waving, no last-minute please for reconsideration.”

    Yeah why waste the effort when you know the fix is already in. As it has been since the moment this was brought to the board by Mr Fischer.

    You know where else they are required to wear blue uniforms with their ID’s on the outside of them at all times? In our state’s prisons. Way to go Flagler schools…you’re doing an excellent job of preparing our students for life in one of the state’s fastest growing “occupations” – prison inmate.

  17. roco says:

    Parents who are responsible parents will make sure their kids are dressed appropiatly when they leave for school. The other 95% have no control over their kids or don’t care..

  18. Lori Cooke-Young via Facebook says:

    So fits thrown regarding Thanksgiving getting an entire week off means the issue gets shelved, but fits thrown regarding uniforms means the vote to wear uniforms is shoved down the public’s throat?! This school board truly has its priorities messed up.

  19. comment says:

    Now that we have the students dressing respectfully, let’s work on uniforms for teachers! Bet they won’t like THAT idea!

  20. PCer says:

    Had parents made sure their children were in compliance with the dress code to begin with, the uniforms would never have been needed. Some blame the administration for not enforcing the current code, I blame the parents for not disciplining their children.

  21. judyv says:

    Let’s stop dumping on the teachers. My guess would be that the majority of them are not excited about this policy. And if a teacher is not dressing properly, the principal needs to address it.

  22. JUST WONDERING says:

    Again I wonder where our school board’s focus is…not on the rankings that is for sure. As Flagler County Residents we have truely let our children down by voting for these clowns. They in no way shape nor form have our childrens best interest at heart. Dickenson and Fischer should really leave the county after their reign on the school board, they just aren’t the kind of people we need in Flagler County. Conklin has not been in reality for a very long time. We need parents to represent our children, not people who live in their ivory tower. My wish for Flagler County would be that what a child is wearing is the biggest problem we have, but at this point that is not the case. Getting these kids into college without extra prep classes is the goal we should be looking at, fine tuning their skills and succeeding in life. Flagler County we have dropped the ball with our representation. GET RID OF THE CLOWNS, THIS NO LONGER A GOOD OLD BOY TOWN.

  23. FlaglerNative says:

    YAY one more fail on the part of Education that I just wanted to share:
    Ten states are being granted waivers to free them from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind education reform law, with President Barack Obama explaining Thursday that the move aims to “combine greater freedom with greater accountability.”

    Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee will no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by the law.

    LMAO can the school system get any more busted???

  24. A high school student says:

    I find it funny how you parents are bashing uniforms, when i bet afew of you work where uniforms or a stricked dress code is inforced. This is to get students ready for real world jobs. If it were up to me high schoolers should be professional dress; slacks, tie,button down shirt, coat. Parents stand behind the school system, the school system wants pride through out the schools. This will help with less bullying, security purposes and the kids focus!

  25. FlaglerNative says:

    @high school student….LOL……..evidence my dear..evidence.The “proof is in the pudding” uniforms DON’T DO what you think they will. If you think kids having a strict dress code is going to keep kids focused more..think again. Dressing like an adult is just going to make them lose focus, by thinking of ways to alter the uniform.
    If you want to dress like that then you shouldn’t be going to a “public” school.
    Don’t be in a hurry to grow up…trust me, when you do, you’ll wish you were back in school.

    Maybe if laws didn’t take the rights away from parents to punish children how they see fit, and give the rights to the kids, then maybe this uniform issue wouldn’t be one.

    Better kids begin with better parents.

  26. rl says:

    I also wonder if the code will be followed equally at all schools? Many kids know that this year ID’s are equally enforced.

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