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Let the Questions Roll: Middle School Dress Code

Two meetings were held tonight to address a proposed standardized dress code for middle school students in Abilene. Those who attended were asked for their input on the type, if any, of regulations they'd like to see implemented.
"This kind of puts everyone on the same playing field," says Kim Farmer, the principal of Mann Middle School.

It's a simple answer to the main question presented at tonight's meeting.

"Why middle school? Kids start seeing differences between this child and that child, and it may be the first time they realize any social and economic differences between them," explained Farmer.

Last May, Farmer is one of the four principals who proposed a standardized dress code for middle school students in Abilene. The group was inspired to do so after visiting schools in San Antonio and witnessing the affect a standardized dress code had on students there.

"There was a spirit with the students, and they talked to us about it, that it just unified them," says Farmer.

Farmer encouraged those who attended to not hold back in their comments. Once the floor was open for questioning, they did exactly as she asked and one by one, laid out their concerns or grounds of support for the proposal.

"It doesn't show people's personality and what they want to wear," says Sierra Mirelez, an 8th grader at Mann Middle School.

Teacher and parent, Brittany Hahn disagrees and says, "Our kids are able to come in and focus more on academics instead of peer pressure."

While her daughter and 7th grader at Mann, Mackenzie Hahn, remains neutral, "it's hard to choose a side because each side has good points."

The questions began to roll once the floor was open for comments. The group addressed the financial, social and structural benefits and flaws of adopting a dress code. While each questioned was addressed with a response, Principal Farmer was careful not to go into specifics, reminding the crowd that tonight was about her listening to them.

And as the crowd shared their input, the administrators took notes that Farmer says she hopes will help the four principals draft their final proposal, which they're scheduled to present to the school board by spring 2014. Once that's done, the board, alone, will vote on the proposal.

If you missed tonight's meetings, there are two meetings scheduled for Monday, December 9th at 5:30 P.M. One will be held at Craig Middle School and the other, at Madison Middle School.


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