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Proposed Dress Code On Tap for School Board Tuesday

The East Haven Board of Education is slated to discuss — and possibly approve — the proposed dress code for the school district's elementary and middle school students.

students and their parents could find out as soon as tonight if a will be in place for the district's first day of school later this fall.

Members of the East Haven Board of Education are scheduled to discuss and possibly approve the proposed policy — which would cover the district's kindergarten through middle school students — at this evening's regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the .

A finance subcommittee meeting will be held at 6 p.m. prior to the start of the regularly meeting. Both agendas are posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.

PTO/PTA Leadership Leads Effort

The dress code policy was spearheaded earlier this school year by the district's PTO/PTA Advisory Subcommittee.

Subcommittee members have said their move to research and then develop the proposed policy was in response to parent feedback requesting the district move toward a new, more strict code of dress for students.

Survey/Forum Results

At earlier this month, some two-thirds of the 50 or so parents and caregivers who attended said they opposed the dress code policy change.

Instead, many asked administrators and school staff members to more fully enforce the dress code already on the district's policy books.

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This was in stark contrast, however, to a district-wide survey sent out to more than 2,000 kindergarten to 8th grade student families earlier this year, in which close to 70 percent of the 978 respondents voted in favor of a more strict code for students.

The survey's broken down results — as well as other dress code related information — is included in the public forum PowerPoint presentation, which is posted in the gallery.

Proposed Dress Code

Details of the proposed dress code policy include:

  • Tops: Solid colored navy blue, white or burgundy Polo shirts, T-shirts, crew necks or turtlenecks.
  • Bottoms: Khaki or navy blue cargo pants, wind pants, Capris, Bermuda/cargo shorts, as well as skirts/jumpers. Also, the length of shirts/skirts must be no higher than 2 inches above the top of the kneecap.
  • Sweatpants: Navy blue or burgundy sweatpants may be worn for physical education and/or medical accommodation.
  • Outerwear: Clothing such as sweatshirts and sweaters — including "hoodies" — would not be permitted to be worn in the school building during school day.
  • Footwear: Must to be "sneaker-type" or flat shoes, and would have "to be properly fastened at all times." Shoes would be required to be rubber soles only, and no slippers, sandals or flip-flops would be allowed.
  • Accessories: Items such as backpacks, purses and handbags would have to be stored during the school day.

East Haven Patch will provide live udpates from tonight's meeting via our Twitter and Facebook page.

Julie Weisberg (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Doreen: Do you mean on the dress code issue or other agenda items. Because I left after that issue was voted upon at about 10 pm they took a recess. And that was the first action item of the night. If, however, there is another issue or item you're interested in let me know. Because there were a couple of other issues tonight that I intend to follow up on. So, just FYI.
Skip Thomas May 23, 2012 at 02:55 AM
yes, I knew what you meant by distractions. I just hope it was not a purposeful distraction from the the things you mention. There are far too few parents that are like you and and care about things that matter. why??
Skip Thomas May 23, 2012 at 02:56 AM
how come my reply to Robin replying to my comment showed up above her comment? This has to be an easy software fix.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Skip: If you look now, you'll see it's below. It's just a temporary view after submission.
Robin Carlson May 23, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I really believe it is purposeful.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler May 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Hi Julie, I was interested in learning how the "New Business" items went. Specifically, what decision may have been made for next year's ECA budget. Our daughter splits her day between EHHS and ECA. Some years, there's money in the budget to cover the cost. Some years, families have to split it. We're just trying to get prepared to budget for it. We typically don't learn about the decision until the last minute. When I noticed it on the agenda, I was hoping to get a 'heads up' a little earlier this year. No worries, if you can't find out. I'll call the Superintendent's office.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Doreen: Ah, OK. No I wasn't there for that portion of the meeting. However, since this is an issue that, as you note, could effect several family's bottom line, it would be another good item to follow up on — even as a quick news brief. You may beat me to the punch in calling the administration, but I'll be sure to post something for other readers as well. Thanks for the heads up!
Doreen Boudreau Hausler May 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Thanks, Julie. Have a great day!
Lise Cavallaro May 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Well, if we're adding to the list, I don't have a problem with uniforms. My son goes to Platt and wears one and my daughter graduated from EHHS so that is not an issue for me. In my dog-walking every day, if we're talking about repairs and budgets at EHHS; what about the rotten front step at the guardhouse, the landscaping on the sidewalk is awful, branches stick out more than half-way on the sidewalk, the horrific squealing noise something makes at night - sounds like some kind of belt in the heating or cooling system and the crumbling facade at Deer Run?
Becki Pastor May 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Lise, to clarify, I don't have a problem with uniforms in schools....what I do have a problem with is the fact that the strict dress code we have already isn't enforced now and there are much bigger structural problems, and educational problems that are not being addressed in lieu of this distraction.....enforce the code in place and hold administrators who don't accountable....fine them I say, before you start punishing the good parents because lazy parents won't parent their children and/or comply with what exists already and shame on the board of ed for not holding Mr. Serio and/or the administrators for not enforcing basic rules in the district.....it won't fix what is broken and it punishes the good parents and gives the lazy parents a pass.....
Lise Cavallaro May 23, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Becki, you certainly don't need to clarify your opinion with me. If it makes you feel better/worse my daughter went through the EH school system and graduated in 2010. The dress code was never enforced, and in dropping her off at school I was always horrified at least once a day by what kids were wearing to school.
Lou May 23, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I agree with Becki here, why don't we work on getting the academics in order. EH schools are below CT average in both college readiness and Reading....Hello people, wake up! Here is a ranking of CT high schools. I'm embarrassed. I pay more taxes in this town than what people are paying in some of the towns with excellant ranking schools. What a waste of $$$$ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/connecticut/rankings
Becki Pastor May 23, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Shouldn't we be appalled that we are lower ranked in college readiness that HILLHOUSE?!?!?
EHmom May 23, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I absolutely agree with you! We were led to believe the proposal was to include K-8 - not the high school. I have one child left in the school system and she's a freshman so I didn't attend the meeting as I didn't think the policy pertained to her. Including the high school at the last minute left the parents and students themselves with no voice whatsoever in this decision. Then they pass it and just wait a year to implement it so "the kids could get used to the idea"?? They don't enforce the dress code now - I see kids leaving school at the end of the day in their pajamas and slippers so obviously they weren't sent home for inappropriate attire when they got there. We should be worrying about their grades - not their clothing. I believe by high school kids should be able to wear what they want within the dress code guidelines - they have to grow up sometime. And if they show up in blatantly inappropriate attire - send them home to change! If this was being done consistently all these years we wouldn't be having this discussion. I attended EHHS in the 70's in bell bottoms and 4 inch platform shoes and somehow managed to graduate with honors...
EHmom May 23, 2012 at 02:10 PM
So a few parents that attended the original meeting commented that this policy should be implemented at the high school too so it was added to the final revision just like that? Did anyone realize most parents of high school students (and the students themselves!) weren't there to give their opinion because the policy wasn't supposed to pertain to them?
Doreen Boudreau Hausler May 23, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Absolutely! Our kids have gone to schools in both New Haven and East Haven through the years. We tried to match the kids strong suits and interests with the school. Two of our daughters have attended EHHS. We've experienced uniforms working, and not working. Never minded them, personally. But, this is wrong. It's important for town parents to pay attention to what's going on here, and investigate all options for their kids, moving forward. You have a choice. You have many choices. We only have one child left in this school system. As I said above, I'm not against uniforms. But this is an attempt to gloss over bigger issues here in town. The people who don't follow the rules are going to continue to not follow the rules. Having witnessed a couple of other schools attempt to enforce a uniform policy that was met with resistance from vocal parents...I just don't see this being successful. Those kids who already dressed appropriately will transition easily, and won't complain very much. They are generally rule followers. While families who don't typically follow rules already, will rebel against this new policy just as much as they did the previous policy. Probably more. Why wasn't the original policy enforced? How much could it have been when we'd see inappropriately dressed kids daily, at EHHS? Send those kids home! That would have been the solution to this issue. This is a band aid over an open sore that hasn't been treated. Ridiculous.
Becki Pastor May 23, 2012 at 02:16 PM
EHMom, I went to both the forum and the meeting last night, and while I spoke regarding how blatantly the dress code is violated in the HS, I only had gone because my son will be in 8th grade next year and JMMS has no issues with the dress code which is why Mr. Prado did not participate. There was no need. That the dress code was not explored district wide bothered me from the start. That said, I was shocked that the BOE members did not know that EHHS was to be included in the vote. How is that possible?? They learned AT THE MEETING from Erica Forti...it was bizarre. And of the parents that spoke last night at the BOE meeting, and there were only about 10 of us, 6 of us were asking for more time to discuss it and delay the vote and were against it but only because the dress code in place was not being adhered to at the high school.
EHmom May 23, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Becki- I generally don't have a problem with uniforms either for K-8. My daughter went to the Academy for 4 years and it was fine. But I guess I'm one of the older moms (not too old! lol) who grew up in the 70s and believe by high school kids need to start being held more accountable for their actions. Today, people want to take a blanket approach to every possible situation rather than dealing with problems individually as they arise. Kids know what is appropriate attire for school and if they choose to wear something that's not, they should expect to be sent home - EVERY TIME. And I know people say the schools' hands are tied as many times the parents will side with their kids rather than the school but that's no excuse either. Accountability is one of the best lessons they could learn in life.
EHMOM12 May 23, 2012 at 05:45 PM
OK I am a parent that was at EVERY meeting. It amazes me how people only hear "what they want to hear" just so they can complain. THIS IS A GOOD THING!! The backpack and purses they can be carried but need to be Stored under their desk for safety reasons. The High School was not originally in the proposal to the Board but Durring the open Forum MANY parents stated they wanted it to go K-12. This is why the high school will not start this August with the NEW dress code. No one is denying that there are other issues that need to be addressed with the schools but this is a good first start. It amazingme that all these comments we get when a story is published I wish the schools get this much support durring the school year, because if they did this wouldn't had been such a huge surprise to everyone else.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler May 23, 2012 at 06:08 PM
It's really only a good thing, if everyone complies. Having experienced very good experiences with uniforms (at the East Haven Academy, where everyone went into the environment expecting uniforms and fully understood the benefits of them), and bad experiences (at a magnet school in New Haven, where families rebelled, and the kids who didn't like the idea simply were not pressed by the administration to wear them...which punished the few who did). In years past, I attended many meetings for a variety of reasons. I did not participate in this process, simply because I did not think it would affect my one child who currently attends EHHS. My younger daughter is at a New Haven magnet for middle school. We were considering EHHS as an option for her in a couple of years. Still, since we weren't told that this would be considered for EHHS, I didn't attend. Well, now we know differently. It will affect my daughter who currently attends EHHS her senior year, apparently. Based on the simply fact that uniforms only work when they can be enforced... knowing that at Tuttle they didn't work last time, for whatever reason... and they didn't work at that magnet my daughter went to... I don't have high hopes it would work town wide, here. It is a good start, if people comply. I do wonder why people didn't comply with the current dress code. And, why the administration(s) didn't enforce them. This is a band aid.
Becki Pastor May 23, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Given that there were only two meetings made available to me as a Mother of two students in the district it would seem I am at a disadvantage. This is not a good thing. I have two teenagers. They are good kids. They excel in school and are both proud members of the marching band, an elite group who truly represent what is best about the students in East Haven and something that all parents should strive to have their kids look up to and aspire to be like. They are the examples of excellent students who dress appropriately, behave appropriately, study well, achieve the challenges put in front of them, work harder than most other students in the district to achieve the level of excellence and maintain it year after year. THey should not be made to adhere to a dress code that is not necessary. My son will be an 8th grader next year. He was invited along with 1 other JMMS student to join the marching band a year early. He should not be punished for the lazy parenting of other students. I won't go tit for tat about who was where and who is right. The bottom line is that all students in the district should have already been adhering to the dress code. That is on the adults. The district should be raising the level of excellence district-wide that the Marching Band kids aspire to achieve and do achieve year after year. Teachers need the administrators to support them in raising the bar. Not make kids wear uniforms.
Flowers May 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Uniforms can contribute to a more civilized learning environment. Bizarre and unusual outfits can be distracting and disrespectful to teachers and fellow students. What happens if a student shows up inappropriately dressed? Are they sent home, quarantined or provided an ugly tie to wear like they do at fancy restaurants? Inappropriate dress is really a symptom of disrespect kids have for their school and teachers. Uniforms will not raise academic standards but they are a good start.
Suzy S May 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM
If you're not working in a school, you have no idea how much time we spend on the dress code. Girls especially change their clothes after they arrive to school. The school staffs' time is much better spent on closing the achievement gap. Beyond that, do the research. Uniforms are proven to reduce behavior problems and bullying, thus leaving more time for learning.
Becki Pastor May 24, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Which East Haven school do you work in Suzy? Are you a teacher or an administrator? And frankly, the fact that girls are changing clothes on the way to or at school means they have inappropriate clothes at home.....again...that's on parents.....and really you think you are spending time on the dress code now? Just wait......when 80% of the students show up not wearing uniforms ....oh wait.....they aren't uniforms......any way then you will be spending all day long and into the might dealing with dress code..... exactly how much educating will go on then? How much will clothing be a distraction then? The middle school anna high school kids are planning petitions and protests and it's only May.....so congratulations educating silk be the priority but only after months of attention to clothing......sounds like the distraction this uniform thing is will backfire....
Lou May 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Stop dealing with the dress code and start dealing with the fact that EHHS is one of the poorest ranked schools in the state when it comes to college preparedness and reading! Do your job and teach. If a child is disrupting the class by not adhering to the dress code remove him/her from the classroom and keep teaching.
Lou May 24, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Becki, I think it would be great for students to protest. Then they can be removed from school grounds and teachers can teach the kids that are well behaved, follow the rules, and want to learn. Win Win.
Becki Pastor May 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Lou, believe it or not it's the really good kids, the kids who work hard, engage in afterschool activities, etc who seem to be leading the charge to protest/petition. The well-behaved kids who follow the rules and want to learn feel they are being punished for the kids who don't. And I can't say I blame them. Those kids should be rewarded regularly for good behavior (there is actually a new program for the that is going to be implemented as well....kudos to the staff and principal at Ferraro for setting the bar and being the test school!).....instead of having those kids get lost i the shuffle of implementing unnecessary uniforms... And this is a teachable moment for kids. They should have had a voice in this decision or to at least have a separate meeting with the administrators district wide and the BOE and do a survey of the kids...you would be surprised just how many great kids are in EH who are paying the price (and I can't say this enough) for the lazy parenting of the kids who don't comply or work hard or behave well in school... And yes I understand there are exceptions to that rule, kids who have other issues that cause the problems they have but as far as clothes and most of the kids school behavior, that is something parents must take responsibility for failing at monitoring.
Lou May 24, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Becki, Agreed 100%. Wow, I have been writing that a lot lately. Personally, I would like to see the existing "dress code" enforced. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the bunch. I know there will always be "bad kids" in every school, that's not going to change. But what I have seen change over the years is the way these kids are dealt with. I believe in the public school system. My wife and I both grew up attending public schools and I am proud to say that we are both very successful, however, when we attended school there were rules to be followed and consequences to be had if the rules were broken. Our parents sent us to school dressed respectfully and taught us to respect our teachers. In my opinion, this is not the case in today's public school system.
Will Wilkin May 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Protesters in general are not "bad" or "troublemakers," they tend to be people who are willing to stand up for what they believe is right or just and needs advocating in the face of injustice. I'm not saying every protest is therefore on the right side of things or completely altruistic, but in general these are actually the kind of people our society needs to act as the conscience and the critics that make vital dialogue about the direction our society is developing.
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM
There are many reasons that I disagree with this policy, some are personal, but the most important one to me, is that my very respectful, kind, and loving daughter said to me, " I don't want to wear uniforms mom, my clothes are the way I express myself, I follow all of the rules and work very hard in school to make you happy and I don't get in trouble, this is the one way I know to express myself, if they take that away I have nothing." I ask you this Mr. Lou, if your child was like mine and said that to you, would you not listen? She is not just being rebellious, Lou she has a valid point and it is protected by the 1st and the 14th Amendments. Maybe instead creating "rules" which violate the rights that this great country was founded on, we should be focusing on the substandard education that is being given in East Haven, it has become an embarrassment.

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