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Hernando tries again with school dress code

BROOKSVILLE — Springstead High School might become downright preppy next fall if Hernando County school officials have their way.

Under a dress code policy up for discussion today at a 2 p.m. School Board workshop, Springstead students would be limited to sober attire such as collared polo or dress shirts, khaki or dark pants and skirts.

Most of Hernando County's elementary students already wear such clothing, and schools with existing uniform policies could keep them. But the new policy would extend the standard to all students in grades K-8, with Springstead piloting a look that could eventually be extended to the county's other three high schools.

Springstead students say they're having none of it.

"I really don't think the way you dress in school affects the way you act," said junior class president Chris Sarabalis, who wore a uniform in elementary school. "I didn't like them then; I don't like them now."

He and his classmates filled the boardroom last summer to protest a first attempt at introducing the policy. Officials withdrew it after parents objected to the late notice.

Now that policy is back, buttressed by research that the district says supports the power of positive dressing to influence school achievement.

Superintendent Wayne Alexander said daily clothing battles between students and administrators distract from the academic mission, particularly in high school.

But Springstead junior Raphael Pintavalle said his peers have done a better job of following existing dress standards this year, and they deserve the chance to dress themselves.

"Their idea is by wearing a polo shirt, it's going to aid us in the adult world," he added. "But part of the adult world is letting us make decisions for ourselves."

Today's discussion at 919 N Broad St. in Brooksville must be followed by a formal vote at a future board meeting.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

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Dress code details

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Hernando tries again with school dress code 03/22/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 22, 2009 9:00pm]
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