Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

September 10, 2013

Committee to consider uniforms for West Goshen Elementary Students

GOSHEN —  West Goshen Elementary School students may all dress the same in the future.

Monday night, West Goshen Elementary Principal Alan Metcalfe proposed to the Goshen school board the formation of a committee to look into the creation of a uniform policy or a standardized dress code for students.

“Last spring a survey was taken of parents at West Goshen Elementary dedicated to gauging interest in possibly adopting a standardized dress code,” he said.

Metcalfe said the school board needs to be made aware of West Goshen’s intentions. The goal of the survey was to determine if there was enough support to continue the investigation into uniforms or standardized dress.

There were approximately 200 responses, about half of the number of students enrolled in the school.

“The results were supportive of continued investigation. We would like to move ahead with the formation of a committee of staff and patrons with the consent of the school board,” he said. “Ideally, the committee would make a recommendation to the administration in January and then start publicizing the policy for implementation in the fall of 2014.”

Last year, the school provided every child and staff member with a West Goshen shirt.

“We did it as a way to promote school pride,” he said.

Metcalfe said there was a positive feeling in the air as everyone knew they belonged at West Goshen.

“On the days we had everyone wear their shirts, I noticed a subtle change in the tone of the building. It was really a kind of a powerful reaction,” he said. “A standardized dress policy is not something that should be rushed  into without forethought and planning. It can be a starting point for discussions within the community. Overall, standardized dress codes can have a positive effect on the climate of a school.”

One of the seven questions that received a high “yes” response on the survey asked: Do you think a school uniform would enhance security by easily identifying staff and students? Metcalfe said 129 parents replied “yes” with 28 saying “no” and 35 marked “probably” on the survey.

Another question with a high “yes” response asked: Would you be interested in having uniforms if there were ‘Free Fridays’ when students could wear their own clothes (still within the dress code)? 144 parents responded yes with 27 saying no and 20 replied with probably.

Goshen School Board Secretary Dan West approved of the possible uniform policy.

“There are more positives than negatives,” West said.

And school board member Catherine Cripe told Metcalfe that she “would be tickled pink” for a committee to look into a standardized dress code.

Oaklawn school moves

In other action, the board approved the closing of Oaklawn School in Goshen.

Assistant Superintendent Tamra Ummel told board members that officials of Oaklawn Psychiatric Center have closed the school and moved the child/adolescent residential services to a larger facility in Mishawaka, known as The Children’s Campus of Oaklawn Psychiatric Center.

“Mishawaka Schools will provide the ‘on grounds’ educational services to children and adolescents,” Ummel told the board members.

 

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There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

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