Pitt Co. schools open to change, seeking input on dress code policy

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A decades old rule is now becoming a controversial topic in Pitt County.

For many, understanding what children can and cannot wear to school is increasingly becoming a problem.

As written the county’s dress code requires students to wear certain color polos and khaki pants however, but some parents said the time to reform the policy.

Tina Heath has four boys in elementary school in Pitt County.

Heath said, “All of my children are elementary school age so they started with the uniform so they don’t know any different. It’s not like when I was going to school we could wear whatever.”

She’s neither for nor against the policy but is seeking consistency.

Heath said, “Finding uniforms can sometimes be difficult when they hit the growth spurt. So the elementary school age they’re always growing so there’s always purchasing needed.”

School board members are hearing trends during these sessions.

One of the more common is a lack of consistency of teachers enforcing the rules.

Robert Moore is on the Pitt County Board of Education.

Moore said, “Sometimes you may find when one school when it may be as you expect it or in another school someone may see a person that they think is out of code.”

Students also made their voices heard.

D.H. Conley senior Ben Estorge said, “The students hate it. They express this and they’re not heard. Students talk about how much they hate it and the teachers don’t listen to them the administrators don’t listen to them.”

They say uniforms don’t allow them to be themselves.

Classmate Josh Gurganus said the uniforms don’t allow them to be themselves.

Gurganus said, “A lot of what my friends are trying to say who couldn’t come out to the meeting tonight is that uniforms don’t give them the outlet to express themselves.”

Heaths kids are feeling it, too.

“The one main concern that I’ve heard from them is that they wish they could wear more colors,” said Heath.

Students and parents alike express dialing back the restrictions a bit.

Gurganus said, “A decency policy would fix a lot of the problems that were stated tonight. If you just have no obscene language, no obscene images and cover up everything, that’s what our parents had, that’s what teachers had when they were going through school. It’s working in other schools and it’s going to work here.”

There were parents who expressed their support for the policy saying it allows their students to focus on school rather than what they’re wearing.

The school board plans to take tonight’s recommendations and enforce a reformed policy by the beginning of next school year.

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