MOUNT VERNON — The Standardized Dress Committee is taking a “proactive” stance on student attire with a new dress code it proposed to the Mount Vernon Board of Education Monday night.
Sam Shuman, assistant principal at the high school, said the committee was developed after teachers addressed the distraction of inappropriate dress two years ago. The committee includes teachers, students, parents and administration.
Jeff Gotke, high school social studies teacher, and committee members explained to the board what clothes would be acceptable under the proposal.
Shoes would have to be closed toe with heels no higher than 3 inches. No flip-flops or slippers will be permitted. Pants, shorts and skirts must be black or khaki with shorts and skirts being knee length. Sweat pants, cargo pants and denim is not permissible.
Students will have three choices in shirts, which must all be a plain solid color. Polo shirts with a collar, an oxford (short or long-sleeved) and turtlenecks will be the school’s preference, if passed. Shirts with buttons must be buttoned except for the top button or wrist buttons.
Board-approved clothing with school club or activity logos will also be permitted.
Sweaters and cardigans will be approved if worn over one of the three shirt choices. Sweaters are also required to be solid colors and cannot have pockets or hoods.
“This will give a variety of options, including color,” Gotke said.
“It’s really a business/casual look for the high school,” said Laverne Secrest, a parent on the committee. “If we are trying to teach the ABCs of success, why not teach them to dress for success?”
Vicky Lambert, a parent of a junior, said it would cost her $300 to clothe her son at the beginning of the year under the proposed guidelines.
“After reading the newspaper, I thought there were several things that were misleading,” Lambert said. “What are those studies? What are the pros and cons?”
Lambert said she could find only one national empirical study and it showed mandatory uniforms resulted in a drop in test scores.
“As a teacher, I’m not sure that is something I’m willing to risk,” she said.
Lambert told the board it should consider the economic effect on families and taxpayers.
“I am now faced with the question: Am I going to vote for a levy or am I going to clothe my child?” Lambert said.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, schools must provide six months advanced notice before requiring a new standard dress code, Superintendent Steve Short said. Short suggested the board take up to 11 months to go over the plan and consider the proposal for the 2011-12 school year.
In other news the board:
•Presented the Behind the Scenes Award to Dr. Michelle Carpenter for her dedication to the oral health of students at Twin Oak Elementary School, which her child attends.
•Approved a resolution documenting March as Music in Our Schools Month and heard a presentation of “There is Sweet Music Here” by high school students Kinsey Crow, Rachel Hartong, Clare Jaymes and Moriah Secrest.
•Announced a joint meeting with Mount Vernon City Council on April 12 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the middle school library. The regular monthly board meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m.
•Announced Mary Jo Behrensmeyer received the Classical Association of the Middle West and South Janice and Herbert Benario Travel Award. She will spend the month of July in Turkey doing research at the site of the Trojan War.
•Awarded a high school diploma to John E. Love, a Vietnam War veteran. Love was unable to attend the meeting.
•Approved high school summer school proposal and high school fees for 2010-11; a student trip to Spain over Spring Break 2011; and an overnight trip to Camp Ohio for fifth-graders at Twin Oak and Dan Emmett elementary schools.
•Accepted donations of 120 bags of potato chips from Jones Chips of Mansfield and $20 from Marcia Orsborn to the middle school for use for Power of the Pen; hangers from Gault’s Cleaners for the elementary challenge program and several memorial books.
•Approved an administrative request to design and bid security entryways to all school buildings except Twin Oak, which is already equipped with the security measure.
•Accepted a bid from Smith Roofing & Sheet Metal for $198,890 to replace the main section of roof at Pleasant Street Elementary. The roof was last upgraded in 1986.
•Accepted a bid from Infolink Technologies for $76,144.60 for the Elementary Camera System Project.
•Approved a new job description for elementary libarary aide/building and library aide/Central Office.
•Approved transportation for a handicapped student to the AG Bell School for the Deaf.
•Accepted the following resignations: Rita Dailey, English Department chairwoman, effective May 31; Angela Duncan, intervention specialities, effective Feb. 19; John Frye, wrestling coach, middle school, effective Nov. 13; Linda Helser, Dan Emmett teacher, end of the 2009-10 school year.
•Accepted the following retirements: Rita Dailey, high school English teacher, effective May 31; Carla Preston, speech therapist, effective May 28; William Shriver, high school social studies teacher, effective May 31.
•Approved the following substitute teachers pending favorable background checks: Kimberly Fleming, Jamie Frazee, Joshua Gardner, Emily Lawler and Jesse Thornton.
•Approved Hollie Frackman, Buddy Miller, Jason Montgomery and Marilyn Nagy for Best Practice Workshop reimbursement at $50 an hour.
•Approved Kathryn Isreal as a temporary part-time Title I teacher; Joshua Somerlot as middle school wrestling coach, retroactive to Nov. 13, 2009; John Frye as a volunteer wresting coach retroactive to Nov. 13, 2009; Jonathan Graham as a volunteer baseball coach; and Angela Duncan as special education teacher at the middle school.