Some parents oppose high school's uniform policy | News
Lakeland, Florida - Either by voicemail or email, Tina Glendenning says her son's school keeps parents informed just about everything.
"We get emails about everything: tutoring, pep rallies, fundraisers," says Tina about Lake Gibson Senior High School.
Except Tina says Lake Gibson never called about a new uniform policy for next year until after the decision was made. Tina says, "Nobody bothered to give us a phone call or email about a meeting about a new dress code or uniform policy."
The school's Student Advisory Committee made the decision just before spring break earlier this month.
"The school should give us some consideration. We fund the school, so ultimately we should have some decision, some say-so for what happens in the future of our students," explains Tina.
Principal Tami Dawson says parents were given many opportunities throughout the school year to join SAC, the group that makes school based decisions. The faculty reportedly voted on the new dress code policy and passed it and the principal says students knew about it.
Principal Dawson adds the uniforms will help improve campus security and the way students dress plus help instill school pride.
Tina says she's not entirely opposed to a uniform policy. "I'm opposed to the strictness of it -- they would have to buy shirts from the school."
The dress code states the school t-shirts and collar shirts must have the school logo. "Immediately I think this is a money maker," says Tina.
"Personally I don't think there's much of a problem with the current dress code... just enforce it," says Brett, Tina's son and a student at Lake Gibson.
Another parent, Jacky Emerson, says the new dress code is not that bad, that it's very similar to what kids wear now. Students are allowed black/khaki pants or shorts with no holes, frays or writing on them and tied at the waist. Shorts and skirts are to be knee length.
"They can wear a school t-shirt, football shirt, wrestling shirt cheerleading t-shirt," explains Jacky.
But Tina says school administrators need to make a better effort of including all parents in school-wide decisions.
"Any decision of this magnitude this big a decision should be decided by parents and taxpayers that fund the school."
Tina started a petition drive on change.org to do away with the new uniform policy and in the future have all parents vote on schoolwide issues.
Lake Gibson Senior High School Principal Tami Dawson released this statement:
We actually started the conversation about uniforms at the beginning of this year. We also spoke about a desired dress code policy at the February SAC meeting and then again at our March meeting. The vote to adopt the enhanced dress code policy took place in March. The new policy will be implemented next school year. We wanted the students and parents to have plenty of notice to prepare for the change. The students will wear school t-shirts and black or khaki pants, shorts or skirts. Shorts and skirts must touch the top of the knee. Polo shirts will be another option for students. All shirts will have the school logo. ID badges will also be worn and the school will provide the lanyards for the IDs.
At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we solicited parent and community volunteers to serve on the SAC committee. The SAC committee is on a volunteer basis. We provided information and asked parents to sign up if interested. We had a table set up at open house, orientation for all grade levels and at incoming freshman orientation as well. We also placed a Connect - Ed message at the beginning of the year requesting parent participation on the SAC committee. This call went to every student household. Our goal is to have as many parents serve as would like to. The SAC committee is the voting entity for individual school based issues per Florida state guidelines.
The need to implement a dress code policy is based on several factors; security, school pride and inappropriate dress. As of this year, we no longer have a security officer on campus and it is of upmost importance to know who belongs on our campus at all times. The new policy is a way to promote school spirit and pride among the students. Students who feel connected to their school are less likely to drop out or receive bad grades. This policy will also better help the teachers and administrators address inappropriate student dress.
Tami Dawson, Principal
Lake Gibson High School
7007 North Socrum Loop Road
Lakeland, Florida 33809