Closing loopholes in Sumter Co. dress code - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Closing loopholes in Sumter Co. dress code

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

July 30, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Last year, Sumter County became the first school system in the area to institute a mandatory dress code, in place for all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

School officials say year one was a great success, and year two will bring new rules.

Ed Burton has finished back to school shopping for uniforms, they are for his daughter who's returning to Sumter County Primary school.

"I think it's fantastic, I think it provides the kids with a level playing field to come into class and not be concerned with what one another and what the other is wearing, but to focus on what they're there for which is an education," Ed Burton, Sumter County Parent.

White, khaki and navy shirts paired with black, navy, or Khaki pants are what's required.

"My parents at the primary school have been very supportive of the dress code, they've talked about how it doesn't cost as much as buying regular clothes and how their mornings are a lot easier," said Principal Valerie Duff, Sumter County Primary School.

But not everyone shopping for uniforms is happy, Sheanette Holt says she doesn't agree with the code.

"I don't approve of it. It's easier and more convenient for me to go into a store and find something that I want for my child to wear,  versus finding something else that some requires for them to wear," Sheanette Holt, Sumter County Parent.

One major factor in having children wear uniforms was to have them focus more on learning and less on their friend's outfits. In the first year coats and shoes weren't regulated, but this year it's different.

"Because the students often wear their jackets and sweaters in the building they didn't look that uniformed, so we have changed to having the coats be certain colors and have changed to having shoes being certain colors within the dress code, so that the children do truly looked uniformed," said Duff.

And Sheanette says that uniformed look stifles her son's individuality.

"He's five but I mean he has his own personality he's different from that next child and they're actually taking that away from him," said Holt.

"For the parents I can just tell you, it's a God send," said Burton.

At least for now the Sumter County dress code is here to stay.

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