Board of Ed Adopts Campus Wear Specifics

By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor

At the April meeting, the Willard City Schools Board of Educations adopted the specifics of the campus wear dress code for all students in prekindergarten though grade 12 which will be implemented in the 2015-2016 school year.

The beginning date of enforcement, which originally was the first day of school, has been changed, according to Willard City Schools Superintendent Jeff Ritz. The first date of enforcement will be Monday, Nov. 2.

Dustin Hamons was at the board of education meeting on April 13 and said the decision on exactly what students could wear does not meet the six month rule mandated by Ohio law. Hamons told board members he has done some research on the school uniform policy.

"It says in there, the uniform actually has to be in place six months before," he pointed out. "You are requiring it at the beginning of the school year. That's only four months away. According to the Ohio Revised Code, you can't do it until Oct. 13."

According to 3313.665 of the Ohio Revised Code, the following are the conditions for adopting dress code or school uniform policy. The effective date was Oct. 29, 1996.

"In order to promote a safe and healthy school setting and enhance the educational environment, a code of conduct or discipline policy adopted by a board of education may include a reasonable dress code or may establish a school uniform to be worn by the students attending one or more district schools. Any such dress code or uniform policy shall be included in the code of conduct or discipline policy only if all of the following conditions are met:

"(A) Any specific uniform selected for a school shall be determined by the district board after affording ample opportunity for principal, staff and parents to offer suggestions and comments.

(B) No specific uniform shall be required in any school until the parents have been given six months notice.

(C) No specific uniform shall be required in any school unless the board includes in the policy adopted under this section a procedure to assist parents of economically disadvantaged students to obtain uniforms. This procedure may include using school district funds or funds from other sources to provide this assistance.

"(D) Any policy requiring uniforms shall provide exceptions for students participating in a nationally recognized youth organization that establishes its own uniforms on those days that such organization has a scheduled function.

A committee met after the board approved the implementation of campus wear. Several modifications were adopted at the April school board meeting.

Tracy Stephens, principal at Central Elementary School, said a committee invited parents and students to offer their input at a meeting on April 6.

"We listened to what they had to say," Stephens noted. "They had some valid questions and some valid suggestions.

"We talked it over as a group," she added. "We made some adjustments into the policy as it was presented originally."

Ritz said he was satisfied the district was in compliance with the original date.

"We had all of our policy changes approved by the school district's attorney and are in compliance with the law," he pointed out. "However, we also want to comply with the spirit of the law, which is to give parents a six month notice of the change.

"We encourage students to comply," Ritz stated, "but will not require them to comply with the new dress code until said date."

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