With the opening of new schools in the East Zone next year, the Lee County School Board is looking to modify its school uniform policy to give authority to the superintendent for those newly established schools that want to implement uniforms for their students.
Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke said in order to give those schools flexibility, Board Attorney Keith Martin reported that they should make a modification to the board policy in regards to uniforms.
"We wanted to give the school principals the opportunity to move forward and wanted to do it in the best possible way," Burke said.
The revision to the policy includes "the superintendent is given authority to approve the implementation of school uniforms at a newly established school for the first year of operation. If the school wishes to continue to require school uniforms after the first year of operation, it must complete the adoption process established in this policy."
Student Assignment Director Leila Muvdi said all of the middle schools in the East Zone, with the exception of Alva Middle School, are all currently uniform schools. She said that is one of the reasons why they are looking at a modification to the uniform policy due to a new middle school opening in the East Zone.
"The uniforms are basically the same but different colors," Muvdi said, adding that if students move from one school in the East Zone to the new school opening next year they can wear those uniforms.
Many of the board members were in agreement with having a school uniform policy for elementary and middle schools, but were hesitant about high schools.
Board Member Mary Fischer said she was concerned about having uniforms at the middle school level until she visited a school where it was enforced. She said that the middle school has seen an improvement in student behavior, attitude and the overall culture of the school since implementing its uniform policy.
Burke told the board that he would like to move forward with the policy and then come back with additional recommendations by the staff to deal with high school issues concerning school uniforms.
"I understand the reluctance about high schools," he said.
Board Attorney Keith Martin said the school on its own cannot make the decision about student uniforms because it has to be made through the superintendent.