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Mr. Joey Hassell, 

It has been brought to my attention that we, the students of Haywood County Schools, will still be required to wear uniforms for the 2018-2019 school year. The debate over the school uniform issue has been an on-going situation throughout the nation; therefore, numerous schools have reformed their policies and done away with uniforms. 

As you should already know, the “purpose” portion of the HCS District Standard Dress Code Policy states “The Board recognizes and understands that there is a strong correlation between appropriate attire and a positive learning environment.”

I understand that certain types of clothing may promote violence or suggest inappropriately behavior, but limiting the clothing options of Haywood County students to 3 colors is crossing the line and unacceptable.  And, as our goal for all Haywood County Schools is to provide the best possible learning environment for our students, I believe we should take a look at top-performing schools in our state. Hume-Fogg Magnet School in Nashville and Central Magnet School in Murfressboro  consistently outperform other TN schools for college readiness, national test scores, and reading and math proficiency. At these two schools, a dress code policy that limits certain types of inappropriate clothing, rather than school uniforms, exists. 

Being able to express ourselves as young teenagers who have different minds further ignites our energy for what we’re passionate about. In the world we live in today, top employers are not looking for conformity and monotony, but they rather want creativity and diversity. Forcing students to conform to the guidelines of the HCS dress code policy can only be compared to the dress codes of the low-paying jobs of janitors, burger-flippers, and other low-skilled laborers. 

However, we, the students of Haywood County Schools, believe in change. We believe it’s absolutely imperative to break down the walls and let our creative juices flow. We may just be students now, but we aim to be tomorrow’s leaders, politicians, engineers, doctors, lawyers, directors, artists, athletes, musicians, and much, much more. I am asking for your reconsideration of the Board’s decision regarding school uniforms. And, remember we students, too, just want to be able to freely express ourselves to promote our own individuality, diversity, and bring each of our different perspectives to the table because that’s what really creates “a positive learning environment.”