A Dress Code for East Haven Schools?

The school board's PTO/PTA subcommittee will hold a special meeting Thursday, which will introduce their dress code proposal and allow for public comment on the draft policy.

UPDATE at 11:15 a.m.

Although Thursday's meeting has yet to take place, it appears that a move to strict dress code for East Haven students already has their parents' seal of approval.

Earlier this school year, each school sent out a survey questioning parents and staff about the possibility of uniforms or a dress code in the district's K-8 schools, according the minutes of the PTA/PTO Advisory Subcommittee's Jan. 24 and April 10 meetings.

And once the voting was tabulated, more than two out of three parents support the switch. The results of those in favor of a dress code were:

  • Yes - 69%
  • No - 29%
  • Undecided - 2%

In addition to parents, more than 125 school staff members were also surveyed. And they, too, voted in favor of a dress code. The results were:

  • Yes - 75%
  • No - 21%
  • Undecided - 4%

The survey also took into account respondants' "pros and cons" for making the switch.

"Most concern was expense of uniforms/outfits and discussion surfaced on the cost effectiveness of working around costly uniform vendors," the committee's Jan. 24 minutes report. "Stores such as Kohl's, K-mart, and Wal-Mart will stock uniform school colors and a complete outfit can be purchased for less than $25."

The minutes for the subcommittee's April 10 and Jan. 24 are posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.


It may soon become a lot easier for East Haven students, and their parents, to pick out what the young learners will wear to school each morning.

The s PTO/PTA Subcommittee has proposed implementing a dress code throughout the school district.

The advisory committee — which is made up of the heads of each of the district's individual parent/teacher organizations — will hold special meeting on the proposed new policy this Thursday.

The meeting will be held at , in Room S106, beginning at 6 p.m. Informational flyers, one in English and one in Spanish, are posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.

Principal Laura Amato, who serves as the school administration's representative on the committee, told East Haven Patch that the first half of Thursday's meeting will focus on introducing the proposed policy.

The second half would then feature a public comment period, allowing parents, students and other members of the school community to provide feedback on the proposed change.

Amato said the committee will then take into account those public comments as it finalizes its draft new policy.


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Once that policy is finalized, it will then be presented to the Board of Education for its future consideration, she said.

Dress Code Statement

As part of the process of drafting the proposed new policy, the subcommittee developed a "Dress Code Statement," which serves a kind of mission statement for the advisory board.

That statement follows in full below and it is also posted as a document in the gallery.

The East Haven Public Schools believe that student academic and social success will thrive in a safe and positive-learning environment. A standard of dress is a positive strategy to meet our District’s goal.

The EHPS Dress Code is based on the following principles:

  • creating a safe environment
  • developing self-confidence
  • reducing negative competition
  • cost-effective
  • concentration on teaching and learning
  • develop and preserve community of learners
  • generate and sustain a school spirit that
  • makes everything possible

Policy Development

Discussion surrounding a dress code and/or uniforms policy for East Haven schools has been around for years. Amato, however, said it began in — and on the subcommittee — earlier this school year.

"We talked about it and decided that there was more than enough interest," she said.

The committee then began to research other area school district's policies on student clothing. And from there, they developed their own proposed dress code statement, draft policy and guidelines.

(Editor's Note: The Dress Code Statement was added to this article at 7:45 a.m.)

Lisa May 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
All for uniforms. Should be state wide. This is one step closer to putting a stop to bulling in schools!
Julie Weisberg (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Lisa & Rosie: I just posted an update above, and it seems that from looking over the minutes for the subcommittee's last two meetings, that the policy — if approved and adopting by the full board of education — would cover students in grades K-8 (although there was some discussion about bringing up to the high school as well in the April 10 meeting). And as you said, Rosie, while not uniforms per se, certain colors and types of clothing will be required. But, we'll find out the full proposed policy at tomorrow night's meeting!
Tommy Boy May 02, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Khaki's and polo's?....that should raise test scores.. Lol
Becki Pastor May 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Worth all sure respect,.if parents dressed their children appropriately and cleaned put their closets this appellant be an issue. The worst offenders are at .EHHS. THE Academy already had uniforms JMMS Administrators are diligent about dress code. While I can side the benefits of making mornings easier and perhaps saving money on clothes, it was attempted in new haven district wide and failed miserably because in public schools uniforms are not legally enforceable so people stopped using them. If parents stopped letting their children ruin their households and took control and stooped indulging them and stored allowing them to wear slutty clothes or for boys, pants 3 times too big then this wouldn't be an issue. Their are much bigger fish to fry on the schools. Like Administrators who run amok or who don't show up at all. .Ask Mr. Serio NOT to give tenure to these Administrators...THAT is money that could directly put money in the hands of your children in the way of updated textbooks and updated workshops for teachers. THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT than uniforms.
Keith May 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I see some of your points about kids dressing inappropriately for school, but who are we to determine what is or is not appropriate for someone else's child. Everyone should worry about their own KIDS. Worry about their grades. The fact that I have 2 kids in high school, one that just got his drivers permit and couldn't sign his name because he was never taught how to write in cursive. My other son is a freshman and when I asked him to read something to me last week I was embarrassed for him. He could read on maybe a forth grade level. But every year he moves on. So in my opinion there are a lot more important thing in this school system that need to be addressed for clothing! And as far as the EHPS dress code principles go.
Keith May 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
1) how do you clothes you or others wear make it a SAFE environment? 2) self confidence, wearing what you are comfortable in and being an individual IS self confidence. Not being dressed like everyone else.There is no self in "UNIFORM", which in my opinion means all the same. 3)Reducing negative competition, someone will always have better sneakers etc. What will you have them do next all get the same hair cut? 4)cost-effective, For who? The school system that will sell the clothing! 5)Concentration on teaching and learning, now there's a IDEA! 6)Develop and preserve community of learners, like the ones we have now? NO THANK YOU! 7)Generate and sustain a school spirit that makes anything possible, REALLY! Making them dress the same will accomplish this. REALLY! If you really want to help these kids. Teach them now that not everyone's a WINNER, life is HARD you have to work hard to be first. There are BULLIES in the real world. Let them play tag and Dodge ball, let them ride their bikes without a helmet. DON'T give them trophy's for participation. Make them earn them!.
Sally Kik May 02, 2012 at 06:34 PM
the middle school has bigger issues than a dress code, worry about protecting our children, which is a serious issue, then move on to the nonsense
Flowers May 02, 2012 at 07:14 PM
If this initiative puts an end to circus like outfits, droopy pants and kids in tee shirts standing at the school bus stop in the middle of winter, then I am for it.
Rosie May 02, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Many schools have bigger issues than a dress code, like educating our children. But, this is a start, and maybe if there is less time being spent inspecting what the kids are wearing, there would be more time for the important things. This is a great idea, I mean, someone has to teach these kids to dress properly. It is obvious that many parents either have no clue how their kids are dressing or just plain don't care. I have always thought this was a good idea and wish they had this when my children would have benfitted.
Michele Antisdel May 02, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Becki, you are making some very broad generalizations. Not every parent allows their children run their household or allows their children to wear slutty clothes or pants too big. I certainly don't allow that in my household for my 16 year old daughter or my 21 year old daughter when she was in school. My younger daughter went to the Academy and wore a uniform and that worked fine for us . My older daughter was at Tuttle when they tried a uniform there and that also worked fine for us (even though it never ended up catching on). And yes, there are bigger educational issues to deal with, but that doesn't mean this issues shouldn't be discussed along with those issues. In my opinion, I think its important for children (and some adults) to learn that there is a time a place for how you dress and school is a good time to learn this lesson.
Rosie May 02, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Although most of this was garbled, and made little sense, just curious...what administrators are running amok, or not showing up at all?
Lise Cavallaro May 02, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I agree with you Rosie. This article is about a dress code. If people have bigger issues then it should be addressed with the appropriate people. I don't know if Platt's test scores have gone up according to "Tommy Boy", but the kids have one uniform for academic weeks and one for shop weeks. I can tell you, I have never heard of any issues with students, they and you know what they have to wear and you order and pay direct from the uniform company NOT the school. It's very affordable. I can tell you when I have had to go there I have seen no cleavage, no droopy pants with your a$$ hanging out, etc.
Nicole C. May 02, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I think that wearing uniforms is a bad idea. I don't understand how a uniform can provide a "safe environment" in a high school! If parents allow their children to dress a certain way, then so be it. EHHS is a public school and therefore should not have a uniform. The Academy has a uniform to stand out from the other schools. This would be a stupid idea to group everyone together again. As a student, I highly doubt anyone would wear the uniform anyways but I guess the parents can waste there time trying to enforce this policy.
Grandmother May 02, 2012 at 11:21 PM
So, why didn't you know that your children had these problems? And, now when they are in high school you realize that one cannot read beyond a fourth grade level and the other cannot write his name in cursive. Didn't you ever have your children read to you or write you a story? Didn't you attend any parent/teacher conferences? I am a firm believer that parents have a certain responsibility to help guide their children through their educational years.
Patrick Madley May 03, 2012 at 01:46 AM
To respond to something mentioned above- yes, we need education reform, especially in East Haven. I feel like some, not all, some teachers are more worried about discipline rather than education. We have some great educators. Also, I fully support the dress code for K-8 as well as some high school years. I believe when junior or senior year you should be able to dress casually.
Rosie May 03, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I'm with you, grandmother. Parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children. I find it really hard to believe that a child got that far in school, and the parent doesn't know their own child can't read or write. You can't blame the school, I blame the parent. It is called involvement in your child's life. Where ya been? You can only blame the school for so much. They are not the caretakers of your child, you are.
Rosie May 03, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Seeing that Becki thinks she has the inside scoop, let me clear up some misinformation. The teachers have "updated workshops". They have to opportunity to attend them constantly. There are math coaches and reading coaches who visit the schools and give classes to the teachers. There are professional development days that teachers attend. The resources for our teachers are endless. As far as the administrators, even if they weren't tenured, which most are, they would need to be replaced by someone else, which would still be a salary. Most administrators start at $100,000+ per year. So, no savings there. These are totally different issues than what this is about. Those things would come out of the BOE budget...this would cost the schools ZERO.
A Mom May 03, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Download the free PDF version of this book if you really want the truth behind the education system. http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/pages/book.htm
Becki Pastor May 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM
@Michelle, I am not talking about everyone's children. I am talking about the kids who snub their nose at the dress code up at the high school. And there are many who do. And I am glad that uniforms worked for you and your kids. And whether I agree with uniforms or not (and I am not completely on board....but can see their value) I strongly believe that discipline needs to be returned to homes not the school and to Rosie where did I say that the teachers don't get training? What I meant by updated was not an indictment on the teachers or on the training they were getting but certainly if there was more attention paid to supporting the teachers and disciplining kids at home they could get back to making their classrooms the best they can be and get the most cutting edge and updated training.....simply put, we spend way too much on employees in this town, from Serio, Anderson, Prato on down.....Get rid of the dead weight and let the true administrators who are running the BOE, and JMMS and EHHS do the jobs they are doing and pass the savings onto the educators. That's what I am saying. You may or may not believe me but I have a very reliable source as to what I am saying....and my experiences with the administrators alone speaks to their unavailability....all three...period. Again, uniforms, in my opinion, while they may be of value, is not the issue. The distraction they are causing is the issue....
Becki Pastor May 03, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Keith I agree. The bullet points can all be achieved by instilling of them AT HOME. Period. Uniforms are a spoon fed band aid. The Academy is not more or less successful because the kids wear uniforms. The Amistad school is a highly disciplined school that would be so with or without uniforms as the students must sign a code of conduct before they are accepted. Code of conduct and appropriate dress...these are things that can and should be taught at home.
Becki Pastor May 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Just to clear something up about my comments on the uniform issue, it is clear to me that the parents who are weighing in on the issue both on the subcommittee and here on patch are NOT the problem nor are their children. The problem is the parents who DON'T participate because they are too busy either working to buy their kids more crap, or dress just as inappropriately, or are the bullies at the baseball/sports games, or are the parents who storm the school because their kid got in trouble, or the parents who blame everyone else for their childrens' behavior or who never read or watch the news or even vote. THose are the families that make it difficult for the rest of the kids in town. I always live by the philosophy that kids should be caught doing well so they can avoid doing wrong..... Because I participate and I vote and I keep a line of dialogue (and always have) open with my children and their schools and I want what is best for the children AND their TEACHERS, I ask questions and I question the validity of the highly overpaid underachieving educators who make it harder for those who really are working hard to teach our kids to be the best they can be and send them out into the world. SO, not talking about most of your kids unless you send them to school in belly shirts and pants around their knees...because then I AM talking to you...stop it!! Uniforms may be good but parenting, supporting teachers and participating is even better.
Rosie May 03, 2012 at 06:13 PM
@Becki, not arguing that there is dead wood...you would probably find that anywhere. But, this article was about school uniforms. But you did say "updated" workshops, and I was just letting you know that there are many, many workshops for teachers and administrators. And most of the teachers and administrators I deal with on a daily basis are more than qualified and well worth the money they are paid. The one's you mention, however, I will agree need to move on now. Not impressive at all. But, again, this is about an informational meeting about uniforms, and I think they are a great idea.
GARY KLAHR May 04, 2012 at 04:04 AM
uNIFORMS in a public school is absurd. Why punish the good kids??? We need to ENFORCE a regular dress code against the kids who wear INAPPROPRIATE clothes. Jeans and T-shirts--if clean and well-fitted -- are NOT inappropriate for kids--even though adults working in an office may have to dress more formally like slacks and polos!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DIVERSITY and CASUAL clothes for schoolkids is the AMERICAN standard. Why don't the other posters understand THAT?????????????????
Nonna Mouse May 04, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I'm just wondering how this would ever be enforced in a day & age when a kid says "you can't make me" to a teacher (or worse) and a parent backs them up. Sounds like they don't bother to enforce the dress code they have now. What's going to make this any different?
Nonna Mouse May 04, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Wow Keith...just wow. I have to say, maybe it isn't your son that should be embarrassed by his reading skills or lack thereof. The complete lack of self-awareness is astounding. I think that perhaps you should be more concerned about how to help your kids with their education instead of whether or not they will have to wear khakis to school from now on. Better late than never!
Melissa Potts May 23, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I am an East Haven resident and my daughter will be heading to kindergarten in the fall...I personally think this is an AWFUL idea!!! What ever happened to allowing children to be individuals?! As a parent I make sure to monitor what my kid wears and never allows her to dress inappropriately! I'm not sure what the point is of making them all look like little white and khaki soldiers....YUCK!!!
Melissa Potts May 23, 2012 at 05:27 PM
As for the poster that said it will help with bullying in schools...REALLY?!?! PARENTS are the ones that teach their child not be a bully....just as PARENTS are the ones that should be teaching their children what IS and what is NOT appropriate attire for them to wear to school!!! As for working professionals having to adhere to a dress code...while that may be true, most work dress codes still allow for a degree of individual style and preference! I NEVER is all the years I worked in the corporate world had to dress exactly like my fellow co-workers!!! SMH!
Melissa Potts May 23, 2012 at 05:29 PM
OH and BTW....Becki Pastor...AMEN GIRL!!! AMEN!!!
Lou May 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The point is to get them to concentrate on learning and not having fashion shows!
Doreen Boudreau Hausler May 23, 2012 at 05:32 PM
You're correct, Melissa. And, uniforms will not keep bullies from bullying. Those types of people just find something else to make fun of. Hairstyle, glasses...whatever. There is a difference between a "dress code" and a "uniform". East Haven has had a dress code that has not been enforced, for as long as I can remember. I'm trying to figure out how we, as parents, are supposed to think that this new policy will be worth the effort. Good kids, from good families have always followed the rules. If families don't comply, I'm not sure how this new policy won't simply be punishing the good kids who follow rules already. There are bigger issues at hand here.


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