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Parents opinions to be heard about dress code

Changes to the dress code for kindergarten through fourth grade were a hot topic at a recent Board of Education’s workshop.

Five changes were discussed for the dress code in the upcoming year.

The proposed change that has gotten the most attention is no longer allowing &uot;flip flop&uot; type shoes.

Board member Joann Peak said this change was discussed upon request of an elementary school teacher.

&uot;There was a request from one of our elementary schools that they would prefer not to have the flip flop shoe,&uot; said Peak. &uot;She asked us to consider it.&uot;

One problem that came with the change was the definition of a flip-flop.

Commissioner Dan Robinson, who was at the meeting to discuss the change, said he felt it would be tough to put a label on this type of footwear.

&uot;There are several different types of flip flops and slippers,&uot; said Robinson. &uot;There are so many that I think it is going to be difficult to narrow it down.&uot;

Many people felt the parents should have input on whether these changes should be made.

Among them was board member Linda Hamilton.

&uot;I think that if it is a safety issue we should do whatever it takes to keep our children safe,&uot; said Hamilton.

&uot;However, if parents have a problem with the change I think we also need to find a way to let them have a voice.&uot;

The board wished to stress to the public safety, not appearance was the issue with the flip-flop.

W.O. Parmer principal Carole Teague said flip-flops could pose two major problems.

&uot;Ants can be a problem,&uot; said Teague. &uot;When they are out on the playground they can get ants on their feet. They also slip and fall when they are running. It is much easier for them to fall when they are running because they are so small.&uot;

Because the changes have sparked so much discussion the board decided to let the public have a voice.

Parents are encouraged to attend the next workshop on Aug. 2 to discuss the change.

The other proposed changes were:

n No clothes with writing on buttocks.

n Shoulders and backs must be covered. No spaghetti straps or halter tops.

n No &uot;flip flop&uot; type shoes.

n No sagging pants.

n No short shorts or skirts. Shorts and skirts must be long enough to touch the fingertips when hands are placed at the sides.

These changes are proposed for kindergarten through fourth grade and are not final.

The board also felt there was a need for updated transportation policies and procedures.

Allin Whittle was recruited for this project.

Whittle and his colleagues put together a very detailed handbook covering almost every scenario that could be imagined.

&uot;We assembled a committee of bus drivers from each school and parents,&uot; said Whittle. &uot;We looked at some of the things they are doing in other counties and Federal regulations and put some ideas together.&uot;

Greenville High School Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy identified another problem that needed to be addressed.

Murphy said students are leaving school with unpaid bills.

&uot;When we came to this years graduation those graduates owed the school system over $8,000 in fees,&uot; said Murphy. &uot;We were literally collecting money on the football field. We just wanted to let the board know there was a problem and we need a way to solve it.&uot;