Local News

Parents Sue Nash-Rocky Mount School Board Over Dress Code

Posted August 16, 2004

— There will be no more making a fashion statement in Nash-Rocky Mount middle schools. Students are required to wear uniforms this year.

But some parents do not like that requirement and want to teach school officials a lesson. A group of parents is suing the Nash-Rocky Mount School Board, claiming the board illegally changed the dress code without input from parents.

"We were denied the right to vote," parent Joy Awalt said.

Students at Edwards Middle School wear their school pride on their sleeve -- literally. Aside from white, blue and gold are the only color shirts they are allowed to wear.

The new middle-school dress code mandates polo-style tops and khaki bottoms. After only a week, it is being called a success.

"They've just been great about wearing their uniforms," principal Brenda Brown said. "They just look so nice. It really has been a positive for the students here at Edwards."

School officials enacted the new dress code to help cut down on distractions so students would pay more attention to their classwork than their clothes. But not all students like it.

"I think most of the kids don't like the uniforms because they want the freedom to wear whatever they want," student Richard Deans said.

Not all parents like it, either.

"I don't want my child conforming to the ways of the world," Awalt said. "I don't want her to feel like she always has to follow the crowd."

Said Middle Schools Executive Director Michael Perry: "Some did surveys. Some polled during their PTA meetings. One principal even said during football games they would poll parents to get their input."

School officials said most parents support the policy and are ready to stand behind it if it ends up in court.

Four years ago, elementary and middle school students in Granville County were told to wear uniforms. So many parents complained, the school board dropped the policy.

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