Danville OKs school uniforms by 4-3 vote

Danville OKs school uniforms by 4-3 vote

DANVILLE — Danville school students of all ages will be able to wear school sweatshirts to class on a regular basis next year, not just on designated "spirit days."

That was one of the last-minute revisions made to the district's new uniform standard of dress, which board members approved 4-3 on Wednesday night.

"We as a board promote school pride, so I think we should allow this," said board member Lon Henderson, who requested the amendment.

Henderson also pointed out that school sweatshirts have long been an acceptable clothing item at Northeast Elementary Magnet School, which has its own uniform policy.

Under the policy, students generally have to wear a collared shirt — white and two other colors designated by the principal for K-8 students, and any color or pattern for high school students — and navy, brown, black or khaki-colored pants, skirts or short. Students will still have wear a collared shirt underneath their school sweatshirt.

Despite vehement opposition by students, parents and even some board members, students won't be able to wear jeans. They also can't wear sweatpants and hoodies.

However, they would be able to wear those items on "spirit days" or "dress-down days" designated by their principal.

Another 11th-hour inclusion: the board agreed that before the policy is implemented at the start of the school year, they would set parameters to measure the policy's success.

"We need to be able to properly assess this," said board member Randal Ashton, who requested that amendment.

Ashton, who opposed adopting a uniform standard of dress and any policy that didn't allow jeans, said he favors setting these parameters: a 1 percent increase in attendance, a 10 percent decrease in discipline problems and a 5 percent increase in test scores in one or two years. If students don't hit those marks, then he would like to see the dress-code policy revisited and possibly rescinded.

Other board members agreed that some evaluation method should be put in place. However, they said the board needs to discuss it in depth before something is approved.

The approval comes after several months of debate on what students should wear.

Board members Gina McGuire, Darlene Halloran, Frank Young and Steve Bragorgos approved the policy, while Henderson, Ashton and board President Bill Dobbles did not.

The policy will be posted on the district's website at http://www.danville.k12.il.us.

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