Cape board questions dress-code proposal

Posner: Where is this coming from?
Cape school board is discussing possibly requiring a standardized dress code for students. SOURCE FILE
January 31, 2013

Cape Henlopen School Board is considering a proposed standardized dress code after hearing a presentation in favor of it – the same one presented a month earlier during a committee meeting.

"This is an important topic, a big topic," said Superintendent Robert Fulton, during the Jan. 10 board meeting. "If we go ahead with a standardized dress code it'll take a lot of time, and I want to do this right."

Following a video featuring a Burlington County, N.J., vocational school advocating a standardized dress code, some board members said they do not see a problem with how Cape students dress.

Board member Jen Burton said she took notice of student attire at a recent school event and didn't see anything wrong with student outfits.

"To me, I think they dress real nice," she said. "I don't know what percentage of kids aren't dressing appropriately."

Board member Roni Posner said she also has taken notice of attire on recent school visits.

"I did not see one student who wasn't following our dress code," she said. "I don't know where this is coming from."

The bulk of the presentation given by Edward I. Waples, supervisor of student services, explained how a standardized dress could improve academics and safety at a school.

Based on one study, Waples said, student individuality increases because they are forced to be creative in other ways besides clothing.

Still, board members seemed to take an if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it approach to a district dress code.

Posner questioned whether there is a problem with academics and safety at Cape schools because it appears most schools that go to a standardized dress code have those issues.

"Is there some indication that our schools aren't doing well academically or aren't safe?" she asked.

She also wanted more information on the reasons why neighboring Milford School District went to a standardized dress code about a year ago. Lake Forest School District also has a standardized dress code.

"It needs a heck of a lot more study," said school board President Andy Lewis.

School board members intend to continue dress code discussions at a future school board meeting.