Carson High won’t require uniforms next year

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

After an overwhelming public response against the proposal, Carson High School administrators decided this week not to require school uniforms next year.

“After holding two open public forums and numerous surveys to gather information, the recommendation from the Standard Student Attire Committee was to not have students at CHS wear uniforms for the 2013-14 school year,” Principal Ron Beck said in a statement, adding that school leaders decided to follow that recommendation.

The idea might be revisited next year for the following year, he said.

Administrators introduced the idea to implement standard student attire during two public forums in March. Hundreds of parents, teachers, students and others attended the meetings. The bulk of them spoke out against uniforms, citing a stifling of individuality, cost and a lack of transparency in the process as the main reasons.

A handful of people spoke in favor, saying the business of a school is to educate, not to protect fashion choices.

Although Beck began the process with a survey of the 65 members of student government, the majority of whom favored the uniform plan, student petitions against the proposal were circulated at the high school and both middle schools.

Danny Dudley, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Eagle Valley Middle School, started a petition there.

“People had really strong opinions at my school,” he said. “They wanted to get their voices heard, but they didn’t know how.”

He said he was pleased to have given them a platform and glad the administration took note.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “I think anytime you get enough people’s voices out, they have to at least consider it.”

Officials also circulated surveys among teachers, parents and students. Of those groups, only the teachers were in favor, with a 60 percent vote. Among students, 75 percent voted against uniforms, while 60 percent of parents cast votes in opposition.

Because both middle schools and four of the six elementary schools already have instituted standard student attire, Beck said he expected that the bulk of parents would support a similar dress code at the high school.

“I was surprised by the parent vote,” he said. “I didn’t expect a landslide; I just thought it would be closer to a 50-50.”

Beck said the impetus behind the proposal was school safety, a way to easily identify the nearly 2,200 students in the school and distinguish any trespassers. Administrators are looking into alternative methods, he said, such as ID badges that can be stuck to a binder.

The school district also is helping to create a more secure campus. Officials plan to construct a single point of entry to the school, where visitors will have to enter a vestibule to check in, then be buzzed into the main corridor.

Whether that solves the problem, Beck said, remains to be determined.

“It’s going to have an impact,” he said. “But just what it is, it’s a wait-and-see.”

Depending on the effectiveness of the site changes and other protocols, Beck said, the topic of school uniforms might be revisited next spring.


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