Aberdeen uniforms rile some parents

ABERDEEN – Students are already in school adhering to a mandatory uniform policy, but parents are not happy about it.
“I know the uniform policy is in effect, but I don’t agree with it,” parent Felicia Lenoir said at the Aug. 10 Aberdeen School Board meeting. “I am a taxpayer and I am tired of spending my money. Would you rather my child come in a uniform or have a roof over her head?”
Lenoir said her frustrations stemmed from camisoles purchased for her daughter that she was told did not meet uniform requirements.
“You never said she couldn’t wear different-color camisoles. If I had known she had to wear a white one, I would have bought her a pack of T-shirts. If you want her to wear a camisole, you buy it for her. You have already taken all of the fun out of school for these kids. I attended the forum you had on the uniforms and my opinion was not heard.”
First-year Superintendent Chester Leigh acknowledged some minor flaws and discrepancies with the dress code on the first day.
“At the end of the day, there were some things like belts and shoes and T-shirts that we need to look at,” Leigh said. “However, no student is going to be disciplined right now for minor dress code violations. We are going to work with everyone to make the transition go smoothly.”
Lady Garth, wife of Aberdeen Vice Mayor Cloyd Garth and an employee with the Aberdeen School District, also voiced her displeasure over the uniforms.
“I can’t afford to buy my child a uniform – I cannot afford this,” she said.
Aberdeen Title I Administrator Dorothy Hale said the school is working with area churches and organizations to help set up a clothing bank for children in need.
“We are trying to compile a list of churches for families that need help,” Hale said. “We hope to have the list compiled soon.”
“I don’t know anything about this church list, I need to see it,” Garth said.
Leigh said he felt the first week had gone well.
“Overall, I think it is going well,” Leigh said. “I feel the kids are beginning to accept the policy and embrace it. We still have to remind the boys to pull their pants up – even with their shirts tucked in they still try to wear them too low. We have also had some issues with undergarments. We are telling parents if the undergarments are visible, they need to be navy blue or white. This is something we failed to address when we passed the dress code.”

Jeff Clark/Monroe Journal