By Samantha Smith
Hays CISD parents took to the Hays Free Press Facebook page to voice their opinions on the district implementing uniforms at McCormick Middle School.
A handful of parents were concerned that many were unable to participate or weren’t notified of a parent survey on whether or not they wanted uniforms at the school.
But Hays CISD Public Information Officer Tim Savoy said the district began notifying parents of its survey as early as April.
Russell Cronshey brought up the issue July 11 when he wrote that not all parents got a chance to vote in the survey.
The survey, which was sent to parents of incoming McCormick 6th, 7th, and 8th graders via email, was meant to gauge parents’ opinion on uniforms at the school.
A total of 304 parents responded to the survey, with 52 percent, or 158 parents, approving uniforms for the 2016-2017 school year.
But Cronshey claimed not all parents had the chance to vote in the survey.
“Some parents don’t have a computer at home,” Cronshey wrote. “The only way to vote was online. Also, those parents did not know about a vote because the school did this via email.”
Amy Caswell was concerned that the district “has a history of changing things and claiming everyone has been notified when they clearly haven’t.” She believed half the parents of the student body voted in the survey.
“But for some reason, HAYSCISD can’t seem to notify the community properly when they want to get their input on it and then everyone has to go along with it like there’s no problem,” Caswell said. “146 people didn’t have a say in this because they weren’t notified or did not have Internet access. That’s a problem.
Savoy said the list the district did not use an automated list, as enrollment had not begun for the 2016-2017 school year. He said the survey was based on those students projected to attend McCormick.
“It’s possible that some people were not on the list,” Savoy said.
The district’s initial email to parents was sent April 26. Thad Gittens, principal at McCormick, said there were “numerous studies” and debates about the importance and effectiveness of school uniforms in his April email.
Positives, according to Gittens, include deterring crime and increasing learner safety on a physical and emotional level. Gittens said uniforms also keep learners “focused on education, not their clothes” and they save instructional time for administrators and facilitators due to an easier to manage dress code.
Cons include restricting individualization and expression and learners tending to not like wearing them.
Nicole Alejo-Rios said on Facebook she thought it was “personally ridiculous” to have a dress code.
Alfred Zambrano wrote he wanted his child to express themselves in “all forms and manners, including fashion.”
“I vote NO to uniforms and HELL NO to blanketing this to all of Hays CISD schools,” Zambrano said.
Jennifer Danielson said on Facebook she would prefer uniforms, as she dislikes seeing “underage students’ midriffs, butts and cleavage.”
“I don’t care about hair or shoes, but skin is distracting,” Danielson wrote. “The students fuss with their clothes every time they sit, or move in the chair, which takes away from the lesson because other students have no comment on it.”
Savoy said the district has had a “positive experience” with uniforms so far in the district. Simon Middle School is the only school in the district to implement school uniforms.
“There’s a lot that goes into the testing and educational experience, but uniforms are there and there’s positive results,” Savoy said. “This is something that we’ll implement at the new school along with other exciting ways to deliver instruction.”