Richmond County votes no to school uniforms

By: Stephanie Baker Email
By: Stephanie Baker Email

March 21, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Wearing uniforms will soon be a thing of the past for most students in Richmond County.

Last night in a 7 to 3 vote, the school board decided to get rid of the policy that's been in place since the year 2000.

Some say uniforms lead to better discipline. Others say getting rid of them gets rid of a distraction.

East Augusta Middle School principal Dr. Verma Curtis says starting next year, she won't have to spend the entire morning--and sometimes the afternoon--making sure students are wearing their uniforms.

"It gives us more time to focus on education, and other problems students have," she told News 12.

The policy also has support from the students and seven board members. Board member Frank Dolan, who represents District 7, says schools will have more freedom without wasting class time.

"The goal of the board's vote was to free up teachers, principals, and administration to teach students," Dolan said.

But some argue the uniforms add structure, which creates a better learning environment. Principal Dr. Wayne Frazier of Richmond County's Alternative School says they also mean better discipline.

"They know they don't have any other way to go, because everyone is in the proper uniform," he said.

Board member Jack Padgett, Jr. of District 6 says getting rid of the guidelines won't mean fewer trips to the office--if anything, it will mean more.

"Kids do better with structure," he said. "They do better academically, and certainly behaviorally they do better."

Another argument some board members have against doing away with the policy is the elementary schools involved didn't get an equal say at last night's meeting.

They're two arguments with one outcome: principals like Dr. Curtis won't be enforcing the uniform policy anymore.

There are a few exceptions. The alternative school and several magnet and charter schools are keeping uniforms.

If you want to know more about next year's dress code, click here to read Richmond County's code of conduct.

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