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Dress code under consideration at Artz-Fox

MABTON - Blue or purple? That's the color conundrum facing the Mabton School District as it weighs options for a possible dress code at Artz-Fox Elementary School.

A dress code was implemented at Mabton Junior-Senior High School last fall. As with the junior-senior high, the idea at the elementary school level is to eliminate gang colors from the school halls. The hope is to also create a more equal playing field when it comes to school dress to encourage students in focusing more on academics.

During a school board meeting last night, Monday, staff and administrators from Artz-Fox shared the results of research underway since last fall on the dress code issue.

Scott Fisher and Chris Medrano of Artz-Fox shared that the majority of parents and students favored the color purple for polo shirts.

Medrano said the color purple, as well as the Viking V logo, was favored by parents and students for a number of reasons.

From a financial aspect, Medrano said parents of fifth and sixth graders like the idea that their children would be able to wear the same purple polo shirts when they progress from elementary to middle school and not have to buy brand new shirts.

In addition, he explained the new Mabton grid kid football program has purple as its official color and those students enjoy wearing their team colors to school.

The upshot is that staff at Artz-Fox recommended a choice of four colors: the junior/senior high school colors of purple and gold and the traditional Artz-Fox color scheme of royal blue and white.

The school board differed with school administrators and staff, though, as Chair Elsa Sanchez said she wanted to see the dress code colors limited to the Artz-Fox traditional colors of royal blue and white.

During a discussion that lasted the better part of an hour, board member James Adams added that his preference also is to see Artz-Fox's traditional colors. His concern was that by allowing several color choices the benefits of a uniform dress code would be weakened.

Adams also expressed hesitation about the research figures Artz-Fox staff provided, noting only 14 parents participated in the survey impacting a school with 500 students.

"I'd hate to see this implemented only for a lot of parents to say they didn't know about it," said Adams.

Fisher assured the board that several attempts were made to let parents know about the dress code research and surveys, but that few opted to participate.

Board member Natalie Palomarez then suggested staff introduce the surveys during parent conferences.

Sanchez said the next steps in the dress code discussion should be for Artz-Fox administrators to gather input from the high school and to get more community members involved in the process.

Discussion on the dress code concluded without action on the proposal. Fisher says the hope is to have an Artz-Fox dress code in place for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

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