Third year for Sumter County School uniforms - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Third year for Sumter County School uniforms

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

AMERICUS, GA (WTVM) - Many schools are choosing to crack down on their dress codes and some are even resorting to school uniforms, but there's one school district in our area that is taking an even bigger step than that.

Sumter County is one of the few school districts in the area that has a county-wide dress code. With its third year in effect, we wanted to find out why it's working. The uniform consists of khaki or blue pants and a white, black or navy blue shirt.

Superintendent of Sumter County Schools, Dr. Dennis McMahon told News Leader Nine, "I think it sets a fair standard for all students but more importantly it sets a tone in the schools. It improves discipline and behavior of students. If you go to school looking good, there's a better chance you'll behave good. If you talk to our teachers and administrators they'll tell you that it's helped in school once we implemented dress code."

With the exception of "Blue Jean Fridays", every child in the public school system wears the same few things each day.

"Instead of the children thinking about what they're wearing they can now think about what they can learn. There's not a lot of competition of name brands. This year parents say it's cheaper. You can also take it off your income tax because it's a mandated uniform policy," said Cherokee Elementary School Principal Dr. Wanda Jenkins.

Dr. McMahon added, "Kindergarten through 12th grade, everyone has the same dress code. It makes it easier for students to go from elementary to middle to high school because they've been exposed to the dress code. I'm certain not every student likes the dress code, but they understand it's for the best of the school district."               

The students, like 8th grade student Chris Thomas, may not love all looking alike, "It's kind of boring but then again kind of neat because the dress code does affect student's minds and all that and how they act and respond to things."

But administrators say for the most part they abide by the rules.

"It changed every year but in general it's gotten tougher, not easier, in terms of the dress code," McMahon says the strict dress code is still a work in progress, but as far as he's concerned, it's here to stay.

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