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School Board Approves District Dress Code

East Haven Public Schools students will be required to adhere to a strict code of dress starting this fall for K to 8 and next fall for the high school.

Citing a need to focus on academic performance and improve school unity, the East Haven Board of Education voted 7-2 to adopt a new at its .

The dress code would go into effect this fall for the district's kindergarten to 8th grade students.

And then, move into the high school the following fall for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

'Student Expectations'

The vote to adopt the new policy came after close to two hours of discussion among parents, teachers, board members and administrators.

Echoing many of the comments of his fellow board members, Board of Education Chairman Thomas Hennessey said he felt the dress code would be an important step toward becoming a higher "performing, educational school district."

"I would like this board to raise student expectations and this is a piece of it," Hennessey said.

"The other thing I think I like — it's pride," Hennessey said of a dress code, adding he felt the code would also help to instill a sense of belonging and school spirit in students.

"It's going to be a good thing," he said.

'More Time'

School board members Christine Maisano and Charles Scalesse both voted against the new dress code policy.

Both said while they were in favor of a dress code in general, they felt more time was needed to focus on the specific aspects of the district's new policy.

"I'm on the fence, but I'm leaning towards no," Scalesse said, adding he felt the board needed "more time" for discussion and review.

Maisano agreed.

"I'm thinking we need a little more time," she said.

High School Included

Although it was not part of , school board members did approve the dress code for the district's high school students starting on the first day of school for the 2013-14 school year.

Initially, the proposed policy only effected kindergarten through 8th graders, which was the version of the policy discussed at the earlier this month.

School board members said they were not aware the policy had been changed to include the high school until they read the revised final draft in their packets for Tuesday's meeting.

But Assistant Superintendent of Schools Erica Forti said the final draft of the new policy was expanded to include grades 9 to 12 in direct response to parent comment during the forum. Several parents also spoke of their desire to see the dress code implemented up through the high school level as well during Tuesday night's meeting

Forti added that since the discussion had not originally included the high school, and the fact that EHHS parents and staff had not participated in the dess code survey sent out earlier this year, the one-year delay in implementation at the 9th to 12th grade level would give the district more time to gather feedback and prepare the older students for the new dress code policy.

Hennessey said at first, he was glad the initial policy did not include the high school.

"I was happy. I didn't want to deal with the high school," the school board chairman said.

"I'd fear bringing it to the high school," he said, adding he felt the board would "get a much bigger response" from the upper grades' students and parents regarding opposition to the new policy.

But EHHS Principal Stephen Anderson said he has been an educator at a high school that has implemented a dress code and he is confident it can be successfully done in East Haven, too.

Hennessey added that there was no attempt to keep students and parents in the dark regarding the inclusion of the high school in the new dress code, the change in the final draft was simply a reaction to parental comments and discussion regarding the new policy.

"I just don't want you to think this was some kind of conspiracy by the board," he said.

Kally June 05, 2012 at 03:59 PM
correction........as Lou said
Renee June 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
It is indeed great! anyone who disagrees with this policy does not see the big picture... these kids need to be focused on school work...not what that they bought at Justice or what team they like!
Town Newbie August 23, 2012 at 08:51 PM
my daughter is starting the little jackets pre school program next week. do the pre school kids have to follow dress code also? my husband and I are new to town and our 3 year old is our first child.... so all of this is new to us! does anyone know if preschoolers are to follow dress code too?
Julie Weisberg (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Town Newbie: First, welcome to East Haven! And as far as the dress code, currently It is only K-8 (http://patch.com/A-t3Bp). And then next year, the code will be implemented at the high school. But at this time, there has been no talk of the preschool. However, if you're still unsure, I'd just give the district office a call http://patch.com/L-gRrW. Hope that helps!
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Well said Thank you I have a petition circulating to rescind this policy as it is a violation of the 1st and 14th Amendment Rights!http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Well said Thank you I have a petition circulating to rescind this policy as it is a violation of the 1st and 14th Amendment Rights!http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Well said Thank you I have a petition circulating to rescind this policy as it is a violation of the 1st and 14th Amendment Rights!http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Well two of my children have attended school here as well as two of my brothers and I can attest that it is a substandard education, like it or not. I removed my daughter from an academically superior learning environment due to the fact that she wanted to have the experience of wearing her choice of clothing. It is her avenue of self expression and given the fact that MY tax dollars fund this PUBLICLY FUNDED school, I say they are violating her 1st and 14th Amendment Rights!!!! Say NO to Uniforms in Public Schools!!!! http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:27 AM
http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Research because statistically everything you've said here has been tested and proved untrue
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:31 AM
http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:33 AM
This policy is a violation of your 1st and 14th Amendment Rights and CANNOT LEGALLY BE ENFORCED!!! http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:34 AM
This policy is a violation of your 1st and 14th Amendment Rights and CANNOT LEGALLY BE ENFORCED!!! http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:35 AM
This policy is a violation of your 1st and 14th Amendment Rights and CANNOT LEGALLY BE ENFORCED!!! http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:35 AM
This policy is a violation of your 1st and 14th Amendment Rights and CANNOT LEGALLY BE ENFORCED!!! http://www.causes.com/actions/1676963?recruiter_id=183475678&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
Lou August 29, 2012 at 09:14 AM
Ms Clement please stop trying to cause more trouble and follow the rules. You are ruining it for the rest if us.
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM
I will not follow a "rule" just because a small group of overzealous people got their heads together and had the mindset they could do whatever they like. The process was flawed and protocol was lacking. Parents and the student body of the district were not involved in the process. A negative opt-out CAN NOT constitute 2/3 acceptance of the whole, which is my understanding what is required in order for any respectable judge to even consider your silly policy. A precedent has not been set in Federal courts regarding "Strict Uniform Policy." Also, it must be shown that the district in which such policies are being enacted have a propensity towards gang activity and violence, and that the district would benefit by eliminating gang colors. This is not the case in East Haven. I wholeheartedly agree with earlier comments leading to the conclusion that the administrators and teachers should enforce the previous dress code policy and vacate this "Uniform" policy. As P. Massey stated above there are countless references and resources on this issue. By the way my husband and I pay approximately $10k annually to the Town of East Haven in the form of taxes, and given that we live in a Democratic Society, I have not only the right but the RESPONSIBILITY to "Use My Voice." This has only just begun; I look forward to contacting the ACLU when they look to illegally discipline my High Honors student, who by the way, won the President's Award for Academic Excellence last year.
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 11:21 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.
Kim M August 29, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Julie, I am curious to know if you currently have a child enrolled in the EH schools and if you do what you are planning to do with their clothing. I honestly am against the dress code and find it's basis laughable. I have 2 little guys in school, and have decided to have them go along with it because it is MY issue and not theirs so I didn't feel right about using them to make MY statement. No, they cannot legally enforce it. And I don't believe they will push those who don't follow it. Heck, they didn't enforce the policy they had in place prior to this, why would this be any different.
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM
@, yes see above, she will not be wearing uniforms
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Kim, sorry
EH Resident August 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM
I agree, this is a good thing! I graduated about 5 years ago and wish that there were uniforms when I went there. It's so much easier in the morning to just put on a uniform than to find the perfect outfit. After all, we go to school to learn - not to make a fashion statement. And there are plenty of ways for children to express their individuality it doesn't have to be done through clothes. The issue is being blown way out of proportion.The only people that seem to have a problem are the fashionistas who want their children to look perfect!
EH Resident August 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM
too* not to. Realist, you are trying to make everyone else sound ignorant but you are doing just fine at it yourself.
EH Resident August 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM
He's an idiot anyway! He clearly can not distinguish between the different forms of "their, there, and they're" and "your, you're"...etc. Just ignore his comments!
EH Resident August 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM
The way some of you are typing on here leads me to believe you are not very educated. Did you all go through the East Haven school system? Maybe you should've focused more on academics than clothes while you were there.
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM
No disrespect but that's funny!
Lou August 29, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Please, you will bring more negative press to this town. Since when has violating amendments stopped anyone? Even Obimbo and the rest of the Dems are trying to infringe on the second amendment. Rules are rules.
CAjones August 29, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Funny? Ironic maybe, but funny?
Julie Clement August 29, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Too late Lou
CAjones August 29, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Now that's funny Becki

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