August 7, 2008

School Dress Code Committee Gets OK Warrick Board Votes 6-0 in Favor of Inquiry

By JOHN MARTIN Courier & Press staff writer 464-7594 or [email protected]

A committee of Boonville Junior High School students, parents, teachers and others will spend the upcoming school year seeking opinions about a uniform-style dress code.

Warrick County School Board members on Monday voted 6-0 to authorize Superintendent Brad Schneider to appoint the committee, which will report back to the superintendent and School Board.

Schneider and board members said Monday that they will not support a stringent dress code at Boonville unless it has substantial support in the school community.

"There's no reason to go forward with something that's 50-50 or 60-40 (for and against)," Schneider said.

Board member Eric Conner said a uniform-style dress code "is going to have to have a large majority (in favor) to get my support."

Mackenzie Derr, student body president at Oakdale Elementary School, which is a Boonville feeder school, spoke to the board against a uniform-style code.

Mackenzie called the proposal "a bad idea and impractical. It does not allow freedom of expression."

Her father, Kevin Derr, called the proposal "Draconian" and urged the board to not even take the step of allowing a committee.

"We can no more enforce a uniform dress code than the current dress code," Kevin Derr said.

Schneider said he was approached by some Boonville Junior High School parents who were interested in exploring the issue.

The committee will have open forums, and its members will include people with varied opinions on the subject, Schneider said.

Possible benefits

Jerri Owens, a Castle District parent who said she likes the idea of a uniform-style dress code, noted that Warrick County is going to a grades 6-8 middle school concept beginning next year, and that might be a "perfect opportunity" to integrate the new policy. Owens said a uniform dress code would cut down on "peer pressure" and the tendency of students to compare "who's wearing what."

n In other business Monday, the School Board approved about $516,000 in change orders for three contractors working on the $16 million Castle High School renovation and expansion project.

Schneider said the board decided to invoke a contractual option to add eight classrooms to Castle's second floor rather than renovate existing space, as previously had been planned.

The new classrooms will be finished in time for the 2009-10 school year, and the school corporation will have the ability to renovate existing space in future years if necessary, Schneider said.

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