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Uniforms out for Ferris next year

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JIM WILLIAMS
Ellis County Press
FERRIS - The issue of Ferris Elementary School uniforms failed miserably among Ferris Independent School District Board of Trustees last Tuesday night, June 20.

The agenda item, proposed by parents for the coming school year, didn't even receive a motion.

It died after all trustees present spoke against school uniforms.

Trustee Robert Scott Jr. was tardy again, missing his scheduled oath of office at the beginning of the meeting. Scott was administered the oath by Secretary Hazel Scoggins after his arrival midway through the approval items.

Also absent was Trustee Lori Newton, who has numerous absences from school board meetings in the past two years.

Randee Erickson, president of the Ferris Elementary School Parents/Teachers Organization, had proposed uniforms before the board prior to the end of the past school year. Erickson was instrumental in research and canvassing parents for their input.

Trustee Thomas Griffith, who headed a committee to research effectiveness of school uniforms, said he wanted to see more than 55 percent of parents of elementary school students vote in favor before he would vote to approve. Twenty percent were opposed, and 25 percent didn't vote.

'I wanted to see an overwhelmingly support,' Griffith said. 'Other school districts have had a lot of problems - lawsuits, picketing. It took away from what they wanted to accomplish with uniforms.'

Griffith pointed out a worse-case scenario where the FISD would have to purchase two uniforms for each student at the elementary school for one year at a total cost of $20,000.

'Teachers would be having to monitor conditions of uniforms,' he said.

Griffith said there was not any information provided indicating student performance improved after uniforms were implemented at schools.

'It showed parents were more involved,' he said. 'After gathering data, I would have to go against school uniforms.'

'If we continue to do the dress code the way we do, I don't feel uniforms are needed,' FISD Board President Duane Yee said.

FISD Superintendent Larry Hairgrove said he felt more faculty members favored uniforms than parents.

'The reasons you need uniforms are peer pressure and gang-related activities,' Hairgrove said. According to those reasons, he said, the elementary needed uniforms the least of all campuses.

'Junior high is more of a candidate for the uniform program,' Hairgrove said. 'It removes the focus from education and places it on clothes.'

'If I was going to do it, I would start at the junior high and high school,' Trustee Bobby Lindsey said.

'I think the cost factor in this district would be too much,' Trustee Lee Longino said.

'If parents want to dress their kids in uniforms, they can do that, if it is within our dress code,' Scott said.

'I think it would cause more problems, instead of solving problems,' Trustee Wayne Jones said. 'If you want your child to wear a uniform, then go get a uniform and put it on the kid.'

'It doesn't look like the board is in favor of this at this time,' Yee said.m 'So there's no need for a motion.'

'It's not the uniform,' Griffith said. 'It's the parent.'

Griffifth commended Erickson for her doing a lot of work concerning the uniform issue.

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Nelson Propane

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