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Uniforms Voted Down In Split Vote

Water Valley School District Board members (from left) Taylor Trusty, Ray Hawkins, Cayce Washington and Lamar Burgess listened intently as the pros and cons of school uniforms were discussed at a public forum in September. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – Although Uniforms are off the table for students at the Water Valley School District after a 3-2 vote Monday night, students and faculty will likely see a tougher dress code implemented next year.’   

    The vote Monday night ends months of discussion that was prompted by a petition presented to school board members as the school year started.

    Board President Ray Hawkins prefaced the vote with a statement that he had been against uniforms initially, but after little response from the high school he was indifferent to the issue.

    “I think we would be better served by eliminating shorts at the elementary school than we would implementing a uniform policy,” Hawkins said, adding he would support any decision made.

    His stance become the deciding vote after a motion from Lamar Burgess to require uniforms in the elementary school became deadlocked with Dr. Steve Edwards voting for the motion and Cayce Washington and Taylor Trusty voting against the motion.

    Hawkins cast the tiebreaker vote against implementing uniforms, but not before Washington defended his vote.

    “Addressing uniforms in one of the schools does not address the entire problem,” Washington said. “I personally am not for uniforms, but I see where they can potentially save harassment for our administrators and teachers,” Washington continued, adding he was more in favor of a stricter dress code including tucked in shorts, britches that fit at the waist and shirts that do not show cleavage.

    “Anything that distracts the education process needs to be addressed,” Washington added.

    “I think this board needs to get more involved with the dress code this summer,” Trusty agreed.

    “I personally am not in favor of uniforms, but I decided early on in this process that if it is what the community wanted, I would be in favor of it,” Trusty said. “I haven’t seen that from the community.”

    Trusty also said enforcement of the current dress code for students and staff is an issue.

    “I think I heard more comments about how the staff dressed than I heard about how the students dressed,” Trusty continued. Washington and Hawkins made similar comments about problems with staff attire at the school.

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