The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

August 11, 2007

EDITORIAL: It’s time to give up fight against school uniforms

OK, who isn’t tired of this debate? Clearly, it’s time to end the period of finger-pointing, name-calling and general hostility.

Do it for the good of the kids.

It’s time to accept the Anderson Community Schools’ new uniform dress code. Though it made a few missteps along the way, the school board gave ample opportunity for public comment, communicated its plan fairly well and had the backing of a strong philosophical message: It’s time to create a better atmosphere for education in ACS buildings.

Part of the plan is the new dress code, which applies to teachers as well as students. The lawsuit filed by parents Laura and Scott Bell failed miserably in federal court. And court rulings have consistently stood behind the rights of schools to create uniform dress codes like the one adopted by ACS.

The Bells have said they aren’t giving up. But there comes a time when it’s better to relent than to win.

That time has come. School starts Aug. 20. Students should be preparing for school. Their parents should be helping, rather than enabling the uniform dress code to become a distraction.

Some parents have threatened to send their kids to school the first day wearing clothing forbidden by the code. Others have said they will stage a protest at school on the first day.

Who would this hurt? The students. They should be able to focus on getting to class on time, learning who their teachers are, learning what the expectations are.

Any form of protest is going to disrupt that. Yes, a protest would make it hard on teachers and on the administration, and it’s understandable — if not laudable — that opponents of the policy would derive satisfaction from this.

But ultimately, the students would suffer from the ensuing disorder.

Opponents of the school uniform policy should swallow their pride, unclench their fists and concern themselves with other issues in local education — and there are many.

Now, the proper channel of civil responsibility is to wait until the next school board election — in May 2008 — and consider the uniform dress code policy when casting your vote.

Take that path rather than the already failed path of obstruction. Do it for the good of the kids.

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