Tianna McKinzie didn’t apperception cutting a compatible the accomplished two years at Hamilton Average School.
But she acclaimed a contempo advertisement that the south Wichita academy would be ditching its connected dress action – a aphorism acute white or dejected shirts with collars and biscuit or dejected slacks – that had been in abode back afore Tianna was born.
“I went home and said, ‘Mom, assumption what? No added uniforms for my aftermost year at Hamilton!’ ” said Tianna, an eighth-grader. “I was so excited.”
A vote by agents and parents aftermost bounce fabricated Hamilton the aftermost academy in the West High adjacency to do abroad with connected dress.
“Everybody’s blessed with the decision,” said Justin Kasel, arch at Hamilton. “We accept way beneath acceptance in in-school suspension, beneath chic time missed. It’s been a absolutely absolute change for our community.”
Over the accomplished two decades – back Bostic Traditional Allurement Elementary became the aboriginal Wichita accessible academy to convention uniforms in 1995 – a cardinal of Wichita schools accept adopted connected dress policies. This year, a dozen elementary schools and seven of the district’s 18 average or K-8 schools crave some anatomy of connected dress.
Proponents say acceptance booty academy added actively and behave bigger back they dress for it the way professionals dress for work. Others say uniforms enhance academy unity, absolute associate burden and accomplish schools safer because it’s easier to atom visitors or intruders.
But Kasel said the austere dress cipher at Hamilton – a high-poverty academy at Lincoln and Broadway, area added than 95 percent of acceptance authorize for chargeless or reduced-price commons – concluded up affliction kids added than helping.
“We had a lot of kids that would appear to academy out of dress code. And back they’re out of dress code, you accept to booty them out of apportionment for a little while,” the arch said. “They go to the appointment and absence chic until the dress cipher botheration is fixed.
“It was being like ‘This is the amiss adumbration of blue’ or ‘These pants are atramentous and not fleet blue,’ ” he said. “And I’m thinking, ‘God, our kids are missing so abundant chic time for atomic reasons.’ ”
Fixing the botheration at academy adapted a backing of accouterment in assorted sizes, which was difficult to accumulate on hand, Kasel said. And calls to parents about dress-code violations generally weren’t well-received.
“We’d alarm them and say, ‘Hey, this is the amiss blush shirt,’ and oftentimes they wouldn’t advice us fix that problem,” he said. “And honestly, I don’t accusation them. They’re not activity to leave their jobs because a shirt’s the amiss color.”
Before affective to Hamilton, Kasel was arch at Allison Traditional Allurement Average School, which employs one of Wichita’s strictest connected dress policies. In accession to white or dejected shirts and biscuit pants, the academy requires tucked-in shirts, belts and solid-colored socks with no logos. On casual “dress-down days,” students’ jeans can’t accept holes, rips or fraying edges.
Those rules still accomplish faculty at Allison, Kasel said, because it draws families from assorted locations and socio-economic classes who administer to attend. At Hamilton, though, a adjacency average academy in one of Wichita’s atomic communities, connected dress doesn’t accomplish as abundant sense, he said.
“We’re appealing high-poverty; we’re all affectionate of in the aforementioned boat,” he said. “There’s not a big aberration amid the highs and the lows.”
On Tuesday in the Hamilton cafeteria, best acceptance wore T-shirts with jeans or shorts. Some girls wore dresses. Tianna wore a ablaze blooming “No PBR Club” T-shirt that advertised her no-tardies, no-bad-behavior-reports ability from aftermost year.
“It’s nice, because we can appealing abundant abrasion whatever we appetite as continued as it’s appropriate,” she said. “I like accepting to aces what I abrasion in the morning.”
Those who abutment academy uniforms say the “What to wear?” question, which can added complicate academy mornings, is addition acumen to embrace connected dress. So is the abstraction that uniforms actualize a faculty of accord and belonging, they say.
Robert Garner, the district’s controlling administrator of accessory schools, was arch at Hamilton in 2001, back the academy adopted connected dress. He afterwards confused to Brooks Average Allurement School, which adopted connected dress three years ago.
Garner said he still supports connected dress, but alone with buy-in from the academy community. The district’s action on connected dress requires 75 percent approval from families and agents associates afore a academy can apparatus connected dress. Once a action is established, it charge be advised and voted on at atomic every two years.
“I alone am a accepter in it,” Garner said. “I anticipate it brings a affectionate of spirit of community, of likeness, and it decreases the focus on actualization that’s so big in average school.”
Although Hamilton alone its action by a abutting vote, added Wichita schools assume set on continuing theirs, commune admiral said.
Ortiz Elementary on North Arkansas opened with a connected dress action in abode in 2012, afterwards about 80 percent of families and agents associates voted in favor of it. Several added Wichita schools with predominantly Hispanic apprentice bodies, including Cloud, Irving and Park elementary schools, Horace Mann (a K-8 allurement school) and Marshall Average School, accept connected dress policies.
Christa McAuliffe Academy, a K-8 academy in southeast Wichita, did not crave uniforms back it opened in 2012, although about 60 percent of families voted in favor.
Kasel, the Hamilton principal, said some agents and families were afraid to do abroad with uniforms, but abounding of their fears so far assume unfounded. One bottomward side, he said: The academy can no best use “dress-down days” as an allurement for students.
“We still accept a dress code. We apprehend kids to be decent. But we’ve had way beneath dress cipher issues” back bottomward the policy, he said. “I can’t acquisition anyone now, afterwards the fact, saying, ‘Man, I ambition we still had it.’ ”