A group of nearly 200 people want to ban uniforms in the Milford School District, saying they are an unnecessary and burdensome expense.
There’s one catch: The system doesn’t have uniforms.
It does, however, have a dress code that specifically describes what children are and are not allowed to wear.
“Now is the time to band together and sign the petition to ban the absurd uniforms our district has imposed on us!,” reads a petition focusing on the issue. “Milford School District is a Title I district, which proves there is already knowledge that a lot of our families are low income! Adding the stress and expense of uniforms is not helpful and does not promote our children’s learning.”
Title I districts are those in which children from low-income families make up at least 40% of enrollment. They are eligible to use Title I funds to operate schoolwide programs that serve all children in order to raise the achievement of the lowest-achieving students.
Requiring uniforms, the petition states, increases the worry of disciplinary actions if parents can’t afford uniforms or if they don’t have any that are clean on a given day.
“Please sign this petition and help give our family and friends the peace of mind against this financial burden of buying a second wardrobe of uniforms,” it states. “Give our children the peace of mind against disciplinary actions and allow our kids to express themselves with a multicolored shirt, cartoon character. etc.”
The petition has dozens of comments, and most share the same theme that uniforms are a financial burden – especially with parents who have multiple children in the district – and buying them is a waste of money.
“I have 3 boys in the Milford District, and it’s financially difficult to buy double the clothing for them,” Arynn Ebert commented on the petition. “Let alone finding room for their clothing.”
The uniforms do not help with bullying, she said, and her youngest son really doesn’t like collared shirts, she said.
Taking the uniform away will help children feel more themselves, more comfortable and more confident, she said.
Some community members said the dress code isn’t properly enforced, so it’s unnecessary to put that financial burden on parents.
Trish Gerken, Milford’s public information officer, pointed out the district does not actually have uniforms.
Rather, they have a dress code policy which lays out what type of clothes are appropriate in school.
In the summer of 2021, Milford’s school board approved a new dress code.
Kevin Dickerson, the district’s superintendent at the time changes were made, said the biggest change is that Milford would allow jeans and allow any color collared shirt.
RELATED: School dress code changes approved
He said the district was no longer calling dress requirements a “uniform,” but rather a “dress code.”
The code outlines specific articles of clothing students must wear:
Pants that are permitted include solid color khaki pants, jeans, walking shorts, capris, skorts, skirts with no slits, jumpers or dresses. Cotton, denim and corduroy are also allowed.
Stretch apparel, leather or sheer materials are not permitted, and neither are cut-off pants or pants with holes in them.
Solid color leggings, tights or nylons are banned unless worn under skirts that are no shorter than the knee. Chains and spiked jewelry are also banned.
The only tops allowed are solid color collared shirts, which can be button downs. Only the top button can be unbuttoned.
Sleeveless shirts, and graphic shirts are banned. The only graphic collared shirt allowed is if it has a Milford School District logo.
Any athletic gear that is not associated with Milford School Districts or colleges are banned.
If a student is cold, they can wear a solid colored crewneck sweatshirt or hoodless polar fleece jacket over their collared dress code top. Pullover V-necks, crewnecks, button down or zippered cardigan sweaters may also be worn.
Students may have a hoodie pulled over their head.
Turtlenecks or T-shirts that are a solid color can be worn underneath polo shirts.
Anything designated as an undergarment, except T-shirts, cannot be revealed.
No skin or undergarments may be visible between the waistband of the pants and the bottom of the shirt.
Hats, head coverings (except for religious practices), visors, bandanas, combs and sunglasses (except with a doctor prescription) are banned.
Scarves, ties and bowties are permitted.
Shoes with wheels or slippers are banned. Elementary students are not allowed to wear flip flops and need to have a closed toe shoe secured to the foot by a strap or shoelaces.
“All students are expected to wear the designated style of dress when entering the school building on regular school days unless they have received authorization from the administration,” Gerken said.
Students who require support with school supplies, including clothing that aligns with this policy, can reach out to their students’ respective schools, she said.
Any parents or guardians who would like to discuss the issue in more detail are welcome to contact the district via email at [email protected], Gerken said.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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