Get rid of school uniforms in SCCPSS

Get rid of school uniforms in SCCPSS

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Jasmine Polley started this petition to SCCPSS Superintendent of Schools M. Ann Levett, Ed.D. and

The Parents of Savannah Chatham County Public School System hereby:

Petition the Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) to abolish the current uniform policy throughout the district at the start of the school year of 2020-2021 and in the coming years of school for the following reasons:

1. Uniforms place a large financial burden on the parents, churches, community centers, schools, social services, and the school system. This burden is especially prominent in families with several children and single parents’ families, where the cost of uniform can be dramatically increased by additional number of children or the lack of 2 parents or even 2 working parents. Please take into account the extra load(s) of laundry this creates throughout the year. Washing more clothes creates extra electrical, water, and detergent expenses to add to the parental burden, all due to the implementation of uniforms. Not to mention the 2 different types of wardrobe's our children must have, that they would never wear the uniforms if it was not for the uniform dress code at school. For families without laundry facilities, the cost of using a laundry mat can be astronomical. 

2. School uniforms were implemented to aid in student safety from violence which included bullying and other attacks on the school. With the implementation of school uniforms there was an expectation that it was supposed to stop school bullying, gang violence, fights, and drugs. We the parents are not the expert, but we are certain a lot of this still occurs. It was also supposed to stop the name brand clothes worn to school and students to stop being bullied over the type of clothes they wear, but that has not changed anything as well. You still have students who have the name brand clothes and the ones who have the off-brand clothes for physical education as well as labels on belts, sneakers, and book bags. Students are going to bully someone no matter what they wear or who they are.

3. Valuable class time is lost daily due to uniform violations that the teachers must discipline or direct the students to change. It can have the appearance that uniform compliance is valued over learning. Students can be sent out of class to the office or alternative school for missing a belt, wrong color socks, shirt not tucked in correctly, shirt does not button correctly, etc... During this time, they are missing valuable instruction time. A student’s academic success should not be influenced by the uniforms they are required to wear.

4. Uniforms can be uncomfortable to the students and create a struggle for special needs students. Uniforms especially the cheaper brands many families in the SCCPSS have to buy, often are made of an uncomfortable material, they are not flexible, or maneuverable for the students, causing them to tear and require repairs or replacement, which in turn require more money spent. Students with sensory processing disorder (SPD) for example, often have a difficult time with the material the uniforms are made of. Fortunately for some families, there are more expensive uniforms with softer materials. What about the students who are not so fortunate who have SPD and are in “itchy” uniforms all day and unable to focus? They are labeled with behavioral problems, problems that could potentially disappear with a change of clothing.  

5. Clear/Mesh backpacks are limited in choices and rip easily and often need to be replaced at least once during the school year. Having the choice of backpacks without expectation of privacy (Resource Officer/Principal or designee can search) would eliminate the hardship.

A student’s appearance should be the parent’s decision, not the administrations. We are wasting too much valuable time, money and resources on the maintenance and implantation of uniforms. We understand that there must be limitations and restrictions on clothing in school for the safety of students as well as keeping and maintaining an appropriate environment. 

We would like for SCCPSS uniform policy to be withdrawn and replaced with the following universal dress code (or something similar):

Students are expected to follow dress code guidelines for Savannah Chatham County School System are as follows:

1. Spaghetti-strap tank tops, see-through clothing, backless halter tops, and tube tops are not permitted. Proper underclothing must be worn but not be visible.

2. Blouses and shirts must meet skirts, slacks, or pants. The midriff must not show.

3. Shorts and skirts must be of an appropriate length for an educational environment (common rule is bottom of fingertips, but this can be a case by case basis. The School Council can assist in making an unbiased decision). 

4. Pants should have no holes exceeding two inches of exposing skin or underwear above the acceptable length for shorts. Pants must be worn appropriately around the waistline so that underwear is not visible. Underwear shall not be visible through the pants due to holes or the garment being see through. 

5. Clothing and accessories (jewelry, belt buckles, necklaces, etc.) with obscene, crude or rude pictures, or sayings pertaining to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, extreme violence, sex, or gangs are not permitted.

6. Students may not wear hats in the building. Caps, hoods, sock caps, bandanas, or similar items are also not permitted.

7. Accessories that are deemed inappropriate for the school environment are not permitted. This includes but is not limited to the following: heavy chains or necklaces, rings with jagged or sharp ornamentation, and accessories with spikes. Accessories deemed inappropriate by the principal or his/her designee are not permitted.

8. Students shall not wear or carry long coats or blankets inside the building during the school day.

9. Students are always to wear footwear, and footwear will be appropriate for the activity.

10. Court assigned electronic monitoring devices are always to be covered by long pants. 

The administration has the discretion to determine whether a student is in compliance with the dress code and conforms to the standards of decency expected of Savannah Chatham County Public School Systems.  

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