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Two more schools will add uniforms

With proof of success and a plan already in place, two county schools will enact a uniform policy next academic year.

Isabella and Maplesville will make uniforms mandatory beginning in fall 2010, basing their policy on that introduced by Jemison High School in 2007.

“Everything we had heard from Jemison was very positive,” Isabella principal Ricky Porter said. “We just felt like we were having so many dress code problems that it was taking away from teachers’ time in the classroom and certainly taking away from administrators’ time.

“There are a lot of gray areas in the [current] dress code, and parents and students try to push those.”

The county board of education approved the requests made by Isabella and Maplesville at its meeting Tuesday.

Though no final decision has been made, Maplesville principal Maggie Hicks said her school’s policy could apply to all students, K-12. Isabella’s request was made for students in grades 7-12, but Porter said the policy could be applied to younger students in the future.

Both Hicks and Porter said they had discussions with Jemison administrators, who said the implementation of uniforms led to fewer discipline referrals.

“For the most part, it’s working, from what I understand,” Hicks said.

Basically, Jemison High School’s policy requires solid color dress pants with solid collared shirts that are tucked in. Isabella and Maplesville will adopt the same policy.

“We knew we wanted to do it, and we knew we would follow their guidelines because we didn’t want to make new guidelines if we already have something that works,” Hicks said.

Hicks said a problem at Maplesville is students getting teased because of what they wear, a situation that would likely be avoided with a uniform policy.

Porter said he thinks the trend toward uniforms will continue.

“I do expect other schools to adopt a school uniform policy,” he said. “I would not be at all surprised if other schools in the county adopt a uniform policy before next school year.”

Jemison Middle School this year became the second county school with a uniform policy.