The possibility of mandating standardized dress in the Greenville public schools drew a small, but concerned number of participants at a meeting at Carver Elemen-tary School Tuesday.

The committee charged with making a recommendation to the GISD board of trustees laid out the advantages and drawbacks to school uniforms during an hour long presentation, including written questions from the audience.

David Gish, associate principal at Greenville High School, told the group that the committee hoped to investigate both community interest and board interest in developing a policy on standardized dress, as well as exploring what other communities have done and assessing benefits and costs.

Safety was also promoted as a primary benefit of a standardized dress policy with a video which showed a student in loose-fitting clothing removing an arsenal of concealed weapons.

Gish said safety, improved self-image and better discipline were possible positive outcomes of uniforms.

“The better students dress, the better they act,” he said.

However, both Gish and Carver Principal Isela Montes discounted an earlier assertion that standardized dress could be looked upon as a way to improve test scores.

“I don’t think the research will support that,” Montes said.

During the question and answer session, several new issues were raised.

One involved “spirit wear,” which is currently sold by some campus organizations as a fundraising venue.

“Some districts allow that on certain days,” Gish said. “I don’t see any reason why we could not allow it on given days.”

However, another question involved students being able to opt out of the uniforms for religious or other reasons.

Committee member and GISD trustee Duane May said there would be “no opt outs.”

He also insisted that concerns about cost were misplaced.

“We’re talking about $18 to $25 for a set of pants and a shirt. That’s a bargain compared to what a lot of the kids are wearing. We could also possibly reschedule the clothe-a-child event from Christmas to the summer so parents who need that assistance would have it in time for the start of the year.”

Committee member Sheila Jones, a teacher at Greenville Middle School, admitted there were some potential negatives.

“You have to buy after school wear, too. So the pressure is on to buy two wardrobes. For a parent on a limited budget, it could be a problem,” Jones said.

Gish said one drawback was for students whose weight was out of proportion.

“Having the shirts tucked in and belts tight at the waist might accentuate a student who is overweight,” Gish said.

Greenville resident Kenna Porter said after the meeting that she felt it would be unfair to her children to force them to wear uniforms now.

“They’ve dressed appropriately all these years, so why should they be told what to wear now,” Porter said.

“If parents don’t care now what their children are wearing, what will make them care about the uniforms?”

Even husband and wife Butch and Judy Wheeler were split on the issue.

“The dress code they have now just needs to be enforced,” Butch Wheeler said.

The next meeting on standardized dress is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Decem-ber 8 at Lamar Elementary School.

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