While uniforms praised by many, others contend rules are too restrictive

Last updated: September 07. 2013 12:56AM - 1905 Views
CAMILLE FIOTI Times Leader Correspondent

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HANOVER TWP. — Superintendent Andrew Kuhl commended the district’s Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff Thursday for helping to make the first day of school, which was also Thursday, a success. He also thanked the students and parents for their cooperation with the district’s new dress code.

“Parents, you should be proud,” he said. “Your children looked magnificent today. You have helped us to instill a sense of pride and belonging into our community and a feeling of safety in our buildings. It is this cooperation and understanding that over the long term will guide our children toward great accomplishments.”

Several parents argued the dress code is too restrictive and disagreed with Kuhl that it will promote a safe environment and cut down on bullying. One mother pointed out that kids who bully other kids because of their clothes will notice when students wear Kmart polo shirts, rather than Hollister. Most of the parents argued that khaki pants won’t last as long as jeans and that the required clothes are too expensive and difficult to find in special sizes.

A mother of an eleventh-grader yelled at the board from the back of the auditorium that she paid $100 for two pairs of pants that she had to special order because her daughter is tall. “This irks me big-time,” she said. She admitted that something had to be done about students going to school with holes in their jeans and dressing inappropriately, but that the rest of the students shouldn’t be punished.

An elementary school teacher, who didn’t want to be identified, said her students were “proud and excited” about how they looked on the first day of school. She suggested starting a “uniform exchange” program to save parents money.

Kuhl said the dress code isn’t set in stone and that ia student advisory board will make suggestions. He received “dozens of calls” from parents in the last few days supporting the dress code and three calls criticizing it, he said. “This is a ‘living policy,’” he said. “We’ll be balancing the opinions of all.”

Concerned about the increase in violent crimes in Wilkes-Barre, one father asked the board what efforts have been made to ensure the student’s safety. Kuhl said the district went through a safety audit during the second semester of last year and several changes have been made, such as changing the position of the surveillance camera.

He added that several faculty members are also part of a countywide security team. “A plethora of information is being shared behind the scenes and a tremendous amount of work is being done by faculty, staff and administration,” he said.

In other business, the board honored Linda Cywinski and April Grosky as the most recent “Excellence in Teaching” recipients.

The board also honored the following district retirees: Joette Anthony, 36 years of service; Janet Babskie, 26 years; Randy Carlo, 35 years; Marie Davis, 23 years; Paul Martinez, 37 years; Palmira Pavlico, 25 years; Mary Richelmi, 37 years; and Patricia Sirak, 35 years.

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