(Memphis) The merged Shelby County Schools will keep existing uniform policies for the 2013-2014 school year. The board voted Tuesday night that after one year, any school can petition the district to change their dress code policy. The school will be bound to those changes for the following four years.
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson told the board “one size does not fit all” and that this plan would be best to maintain some stability during the transition year.
Commissioner Mary Ann Gibson said that with municipal schools forming soon, it would be unfair to suburban parents who would otherwise need to buy uniforms for only one year.
Meanwhile, other commissioners and members of the audience expressed misgivings about maintaining a stigma of former MCS schools being held to a different standard.
Before the meeting, Commissioner Reginald Porter Jr. told News Channel 3, “Personally, I would like to see it under one umbrella.”
Commissioner Patrice Robinson questioned how these uniforms adversely affect students, particularly African-Amerian young men.
There are currently eight schools in suburban Shelby County where standardized dress codes are in place. Students in those elementary and middle schools have standardized style and colors.
The board voted to remove one part of the policy which would have restricted schools with discipline or gang problems from petitioning for dress code change.
The approved policy now allows any school, after 2013-2014, to decide what policy is best for the individual school community.