DECATUR--Towers High School students are returning to classes from Winter Break in school uniforms, and belts for slacks will be required. No “sagging” will be tolerated under the new policy, which takes effect this month, Principal Ralph Simpson said.
“It’s not an option,” Simpson said. “We decided to start the policy after the holidays to give the students a chance to get the uniforms. We hope some of their Christmas presents were khaki bottoms and Polo style or Oxford shirts because they are going to need them,” said Simpson.
Simpson said many students and their parents are excited about the new policy, which is aimed at keeping students focused on their school work—not their clothes.
“We had several meetings with the PTSA and the uniforms were approved overwhelmingly,” Simpson said. “It’s one of the tools we are using to improve this school.”
Simpson said 300 of 900 students signed a petition in support of the new dress code. About 100 parents surveyed also consented to the change, he said.
Students don’t have to buy a particular brand of khaki pants, skirts or shorts (when the weather is warmer). They also don’t have to wear a particular color shirt. However, the shirts must be a Polo style or button up Oxford with a collar.
Students who fail to wear the uniforms initially will receive a warning and then tougher penalties will follow, including parental conferences with school administrators and in-school suspension for students who violate the school policy.
Simpson said there is a assistance for students who really need help buying uniforms.
“Most of these kids have True Religion jeans and smart phones. They can afford khakis, if they want to afford them,” Simpson said.
Not everyone is thrilled about the policy, but some said students said they’ll do what they must.
“I’ll wear it, but my shirts have to be Ralph Lauren. Got to have the Ralph,” said senior Austin Wiley.
“I don’t like wearing uniforms. I did that in middle school, but I’m not complaining, not now at least,” said another senior, Aliyah Copeland.
Simpson says he doesn’t care about designers, as long as students follow the policy.
“As long as its khaki, it’s fine with me,” said Principal Simpson. “You can always use a good pair of quality khaki pants. Throw on a jacket and put on a shirt and tie. You can dress that up on any given day.”
Simpson said he wants to turn Towers around. Towers, he said, is one of the lowest-performing schools in the district.
“We want to change the climate and culture here and it starts with being focused on learning,” Simpson said.