Uniforms are a thing of the past in Natalia ISD after the School Board voted to eliminate them in favor of a student standard of dress at the Regular meeting on Monday, July 10.
Assistant Superintendent Donald Stewart, Jr., presented the Board with three options for updating the district’s dress code in 2017-2018 Student Handbook.
“The first option would basically keep things the way they are,” Stewart said. “Option B adds in one day a week free [of uniforms], and then Option C would be going with a standard of dress that would no longer require the uniform.”
Stewart said that campus principals and administrators preferred moving to a standard of dress over keeping the uniform policy in place.
In addition, over 300 students and parents responded to a district survey about the possible elimination of uniforms, and two-thirds of respondents were in favor of doing so.
Board President Eric Smith noted that he was a sophomore in high school when the uniform policy was implemented in 2000-2001, and that it was time to turn the page.
“This is really something that we don’t, as a Board, have to deal with on a daily basis,” Smith said. “This is something that administrators and teachers have to deal with on a daily basis, and I feel that they should be the ones who present the Board with a recommendation. That doesn’t mean the Board has to accept the recommendation, but I felt that it would be important to know what y’all’s feelings are.”
Superintendent Hensley Cone said the uniform policy has been brought up since his first day on the job.
“There’s no research that says that if you make a dress code, [students] will behave better, or they’ll be better kids,” Cone said, adding that he supported the wishes of the district administrators and survey respondents who wanted to eliminate uniforms.
Smith pointed out that the district went to federal court after adopting the uniform policy, spending “thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars” on the issue, and not to be surprised if there was criticism for dropping it.
Smith made a motion to approve the adoption of the 2017-2018 Student Handbook with Option C, standardized dress, in place instead of a uniform policy. Tiffany Rodriguez provided a second, and the motion was approved unanimously by Board members Andrew Besa, Eric Owens, Fernando Garza, and Jack Bradley, Jr.
Paul Almendarez, the only member of the Board in office when the uniform policy was implemented, was late to the meeting and missed the vote.
The dress code and 2017-2018 Student Handbook are available online at nataliaisd.net.