CLAXTON - The new school year that begins Aug. 4 for Evans County students also will bring a new code of dressing.
While students are not required to wear school uniforms, per se, they are required to follow very specific guidelines for what type of clothing should or should not be worn to school during the 2011-12 school year.
Pre-K students are the only ones in all three schools who have an option concerning the new guidelines.
The change to a uniform-type dress code has been two years in the making, said Superintendant Dr. Joy Collins.
Surveys were sent out, she said, and returned showing the majority were in favor of the change.
No immediate action was taken, but the subject came up again in an administrators meeting last fall, Collins said.
Surveys were sent out again with a similar positive response, she said, and the school board began discussing the issue.
"We formed committees for individual schools to collect their ideas about the new dress code," she said, then the board voted in April to create an additional committee that would outline the specific policy.
The uniform policy details that pants, skirts, skorts, and shorts must be khaki or black in color, may not be made of denim, and must be worn to fit the waist.
Skirts, skorts, and shorts must be top-of-the-knee length at high school, fingertip length at Claxton Middle, and fingertip length at Claxton Elementary.
Tops for both genders must have collars and sleeves and be solid in color-black, white, gold/yellow, or gray, to reflect school colors.
Kindergarten students are not required to wear collared shirts, but are asked to wear t-shirts in solid school colors.
"The majority of parents are happy with the uniform policy," Collins said, because the required clothing is much cheaper than the name-brand jeans that parents are used to buying.
Collins said she went shopping along with a couple others from the board office in the spring while developing of the policy.
They found that bottoms fitting the desired description would run $10 to $15. And polo-type shirts can be purchased for as little as $5 at JCPenny.
Each school will maintain a uniform dress closet that will contain a variety of sizes of uniforms for non-compliant or newly-enrolled students. Newly enrolled students will be given five school days to comply with the school dress code. Until that time, they may borrow uniforms from the uniform dress closet without penalty.
"We believe the new policy will give students a sense of belonging and school pride," Collins said. "We hope it will help the climate of the schools."
A couple of local churches also have uniform closets to help families in need. Eastside Baptist is working on a uniform closet matching school policy, she said.
And First Methodist Church has a coat closet, both free to needy families.
Claxton school employees begin preplanning on Monday and August 4 marks the first day for students for the 2011-12 school year.
Additional requirements of the uniform policy regarding fit, length, belts, socks, shoes, and dress down days specific to each school can be found in the "Student Uniform Policy" documents at www.evans.k12.ga.us under the "Parents" tab.