STARKVILLE — Starkville school officials are considering requiring uniforms for students, but they want to get some clear input from parents before they take action.
The discussion came at Tuesday night”s board meeting when Superintendent Judy Couey brought an informal survey to the board”s attention. The dress code survey had just 369 total participants and was completed by less than one-fourth of the people to whom it was sent.
However, the results show respondents almost evenly divided on the issue of uniforms, with the slight majority being opposed. Approval of uniforms ranged from a high of 49.9 percent who favor them in sixth through eighth grade to a low of 44.7 percent who favor them for high school. Of those who responded, 45.2 percent would like to see uniforms in kindergarten through second grade and 48.2 percent would like uniforms in third through fifth grade; 64 percent are opposed to staff being required to wear uniforms.
The item was on the agenda to allow time for discussion.
“This is something I didn”t just want to ask the board to pass. I wanted a chance to get public comment,” Couey said, noting she has looked at school uniforms from the perspective of whether or not they improve student achievement.
Research, she said, indicates there are improvements when uniforms are required in middle and high school.
“I would hate to see us doing a piece-meal thing with uniforms,” Couey said when it was suggested that uniforms could be required just at certain grades.
Columbus Municipal School District requires uniforms in grades kindergarten through eight; high school students are not required to wear uniforms.
In the Lowndes County School District, West Lowndes Middle and Elementary school students are required to wear uniforms, while other county schools are not.
West Point School District requires uniforms in grades kindergarten through six; secondary students are not required to wear uniforms.
The board asked Couey to develop a new, short survey to be distributed to each parent in the school district to determine whether or not they would like uniforms. They also will be asked for the rationale behind their opinion.
“A decision will be made based on how parents feel about it in the district and on affordability and accessibility,” Couey said.
No timeline was set to decide the issue of school uniforms.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.