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We are being railroaded into uniforms! (long)

16 years 10 months ago #133436 by CrewChief
writermom - I agree with EnchantedLeader about contacting the school board. I also believe anonymously is the way to go since you and your husband have high profile positions within the school.

I'm curious how much independent authority your prinicpal has over setting policy. It seems typical for the principal to have a great deal of influence over policy but that the actual decision making belongs to the BOE.

If the principal is discussing her process in a PTO meeting then all of her comments are on the record and therefore public record. It wouldn't take much to get a copy of those minutes in front of some BOE members. They may not like the tactics she's using to get her way. If the principal is the only liason between the parents/staff and the BOE then they have no choice but to believe whatever data she presents to them. I'd also encourage parents to contact their board members directly and let them know how they feel about both the dress code and the principal's methods for directing change.

It's a pretty weak management style to change the rules when the current ones aren't being followed. She's blaming the rules rather than her inability to enforce them. It should be well within her role and that of all other staff members to correct students who aren't following the dress code. If a t-shirt is offensive, tell the student to wear it inside out for the rest of the day and then not wear it to school again. If the attire is inappropriate, make the student wear their gym clothes or wait in the office until their parents bring a change of clothes. It's really a very easy thing to enforce.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same."

"The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat but in the true perfection of one's character."
16 years 10 months ago #133435 by EnchantedLeader
I would contact the school board, anonymously if possible.

I'd also ask the principal to withdraw the comment that non-votes are considered 'ayes.' I'd ask the principal to revise the voting process to require that 66% of the total ballots distributed be returned as actual 'ayes' to make the change. If 100 surveys are distributed, 66 must come back marked 'aye,' etc.
16 years 10 months ago #133434 by writermom
I'm not really interested in a debate about the pros and cons of uniforms in public schools. I understand everyone has their own opinion. My dilemma concerns how our principal is trying to implement a uniform policy.

The issue came up back in April, when at the PTO meeting the principal asked us how we would feel about an "enhanced dress code" because she is sick of kids coming to school in pants that show crack and too baggy shirts. She also does not like t-shirts with messages that go against her principles but are not against the district dress code. Her example was a shirt worn that day that said "I want to be good but it's too hard." I asked her why she didn't just enforce the dress code the district has and she got angry and said half the time she can't even get ahold of some of these parents. So I then asked her how she expected to enforce uniforms? She got angry and changed the subject.

Ok, so she sends out a survey that she said in the PTO meeting would be just to check on what the ineterest would be in talking about this. Out of 315 families, less than 70 responded and the majority of those were in favor.The question was phrased like this: Would you be in favor of an enhanced dress code? Well, who's going to say no? Most people want kids to look presentable in school and this gives no information on what exactly an enhanced dress code is.

We then asked at the next PTO meeting (which only had about 6 parents mind you) if we would be given more information on what she had in mind for this. She held a meeting earlier this week at which about 12 families were in attendence. We were told what the enhanced dress code meant and it is basically uniforms. One parent asked when we would be voting on this and the principal informed us that we did vote. The survey was a vote and we would be asked before we left the meeting to sign a paper saying if we were for or against and that was our vote. Several parents--including my husband (who is a school board member) and I were taken aback. Who holds a voting meeting without telling parents it's a voting meeting???

We were given the whole spiel about how great uniforms are, etc. (as well as a sales pitch from a local uniform store owner)and most parents there were strongly in favor. So now the principal is going around saying 84% of the parents at our school are in favor of it and the only ones against it are my husband and me.Yesterday she sent out an official vote form that must be filled out by next Tuesday, saying "The vast majority of parents are in favor of an enhanced dress code. Every family that does not vote will be counted as a yes vote."

At this point I am seething. I went into this whole thing with no opinion, willing to listen to what she had to say. I have spent hours researching this topic and my opinion is against uniforms. But now that is even beside the point. If the vast majority of parents made an informed opinion and voted yes, fine I could accept that. But the vast majority haven't expressed an opinion, and those who have, have only been given one side of the story. There are so many things wrong with this process that I can't even begin to enumerate them.

And I am personally hurt and disappointed. I am PTO president and I have given my heart and soul to this school. Under this year's leadership (and I do not take all of the credit) parent participation has more than tripled. We've raised more money than ever before. And I have worked hard to be an ally and supporter of this principal, who is only in her second year. I have worked to get her what she needs for the school and defended her to those who were negative about her. She knows my husband and I are against them but has not bothered to have a conversation with us to see why. She is now avoiding and telling people we are the only ones against it.

My dilemma is this: I am torn between wanting to wage war over this, which will undoubtledly ruin my working relationship with her(I was elected president for next year) and just quietly working behind the scenes to get it quashed at the board level.

Any advice? And if you've read this far...thank you. I am literally sick to my stomach over this.
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