Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

September 13, 2013

Uniforms may be good fit for West Goshen Elementary

ALBION — Does this issue rise to the level of emergency? No. Is the topic worthy of continued discussion? In the view of this newspaper, yes.

At their Monday meeting, Goshen school board members heard a proposal from West Goshen Elementary Principal Alan Metcalfe. He’d like to form a committee to look into creating a uniform policy, or standardized dress code for West Goshen pupils.

School officials should be commended for not taking a top-down approach. Metcalfe told the board a survey of West Goshen Elementary parents was conducted last spring to determine interest in adopting a dress code.

There were close to 200 replies, accounting for about half of the student population; statistically, that’s a solid return rate.

Survey responses, listed in order of “yes,” “no” and “probably,” include:

• Do you think West Goshen Elementary should consider school uniforms for the 2014-15 school year? — 128, 33 and 31

• Do you think school uniforms will help stop students from teasing each other about clothes? — 123, 24 and 45

• Do you think a school uniform would enhance security by easily identifying staff and students? — 129, 28 and 35

• Do you think a school uniform would develop a sense of school community and belonging within the school setting? — 101, 32 and 6

West Goshen parents tend to support at least considering a dress code, and that process is in the works.

There were no objections from the school board Monday. As such, Metcalfe will set up a committee consisting of parents, school personnel and maybe a school board member. The group’s mission? Research.

The pros and cons of the dress code proposal need to be weighed, with attention paid to specifics. Put simply, what would West Goshen students look like under a new policy? What is the cost, and who would bear it? How many changes of clothes are we talking about?

The impetus for the dress code needs to be addressed as well. What’s driving this proposal and why now?

Questions abound, but a revised dress code at West Goshen Elementary is worth exploring. We look forward to what happens next.

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