New dress code rules approved for two Pasco County schools
Two Pasco County schools have adopted stricter dress code rules less than two weeks before students return to class.
Without comment, the School Board on Tuesday approved mandatory uniforms of red or blue collared shirts and khaki or blue bottoms for Hudson Elementary School, which is undergoing a turnaround transformation this year. Hudson leaders said they hoped the change would improve students' sense of belonging at the school -- a need after surveys and interviews revealed a lack of school spirit.
Hudson will have an opt-out provision for families, and is working to make the uniforms available inexpensively or, for children who cannot afford them, free.
The board also okayed Ridgewood High School's proposal for a modified dress code, which includes a wide variety of shirts, bottoms and approved school-related outfits. Originally aimed to be more restrictive, such as not allowing dresses or skirts, the school's initiative should be fairly easy for students to meet, principal Angie Murphy recently told the board.
Board members, who privately noted that the modifications differ little from the district's existing dress code, stressed that their approval came in support of Ridgewood's attempt to improve its academic and social climate. Like Hudson, it has experienced discipline troubles and seend too many students "off track" for success.
"This is more than a dress code modification," board member Alison Crumbley said, mentioning that she had long conversations about the subject with Murphy prior to the meeting. "They have a very well thought out systematic structure change."
She noted that the school plans to focus more on creating a professional work environment, while also providing more mentoring, career advising and clubs, among other things.
"High expectations, too," chimed in board member Steve Luikart, before casting his vote to support the change.
Ridgewood will not have an opt-out clause, but will give students until the second quarter to fully comply because of the late date.