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Caldwell Debates Uniform Dress Code

Caldwell ISD is taking a uniform approach to dress code issues.

As soon as next year, the campus will have stricter rules, but what will parents have to say about it?

Johnna Birkes knows more about today's fashion, than she cares to.

The Caldwell High School assistant principal says the time she spends every week enforcing the dress code, has been taxing.

And her teachers are fighting the same battle.

"The teacher's are unable to focus on education. If the teacher spends at least five minutes during their class period every day dealing with dress code issues, then by the time the end of the week rolls around, that's two and a half hours of instructional time just wasted," says Birkes.

Their solution is a stricter uniform dress code.

It would allow jeans and khaki pants along with a polo shirt, but no T-shirts, unless it's a Caldwell Hornets T-shirt.

And skirts and shorts can be no shorter than three inches above the knee.

"This is a way to equal out the playing field with all of those kids. We have some kids that are actually wearing $150 jerseys with the price tags hanging out the back. They flaunt it," says Birkes.

But the clothing isn't just a distraction; it can also be a safety issue.

School Officer B.J. Hegemeyer says baggy pants and gang related clothing have posed the biggest threat to security.

She says the sooner the dress code changes are made, the safer everyone will be.

"If we had uniform dress it would eliminate the safety issue, the gang related issue, the peer pressure that's put on some of these kids because they can't afford these $150 jerseys, it just makes life at Caldwell Independent School District a whole lot easier for everyone concerned," says Hegemeyer.

Birkes says the school is on the right track to improving the situation for teachers and students.

"Our jobs as educators are so difficult now. I feel this is one area teacher's shouldn't have to battle dress code when they should be focusing on education," says Birkes.

The dress code would only affect Caldwell High School and Middle School students.

Administrators are holding an open forum to hear parent's opinions.

That's coming up March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the High School.


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