Questions about uniforms at EHHS freshman orientation
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Mon., Aug. 29, 2011
At freshmen orientation at East Hartford High School on Aug. 23, the questions were all about the school uniforms, which become mandatory for all East Hartford students this school year.
Principal Matt Ryan spent much of the morning meeting with parents explaining the do's and dont's of the new uniform.
“All shoes must be black, white or tan – if you just bought those $140 black Jordans with the green logo on the side, get a black magic marker to cover it up,” Ryan said.
East Hartford students this fall have a choice of polo shirts, fleece jackets, oxford shirts, khaki pants or skirts and suit jackets in their school colors, and even a black and gold tie. Uniforms and accessories have been on sale at EHHS at the uniform store operated by Connecticut Shirtman all summer.
While a few schools have already had school polo shirts, this year will be the first that uniforms are mandatory for all students, including seniors. The uniform at each magnet school has its own school colors.
Most of the questions at the recent freshman orientation centered around rules for proper wearing, and penalties for showing up in inappropriate attire. Shirts need not be tucked in, Ryan said, but may not extend lower than the front pants pockets. In addition, no thermals or undershirts may extend longer than the polo shirts, or show underneath shirts. Skirts for girls may not be any shorter than 3 inches above the knee. Failure to comply with uniform rules can results in penalties that range from written warnings, to detention, to in-school suspensions, he said.
Several parents with more than one student in the school system expressed concern about the cost. “I'm not against the uniform, it’s just that for a person in my position - I'm a single parent with three children in the school system - it’s a hardship,” said Shonda Rosetta, who is legally blind. Rosetta said she is particularly concerned about her ability to purchase the fleece clothing that is more expensive, but would become necessary during the winter. “We should be allowed to purchase color-coordinated but less expensive clothes,” she said.
Karen DeFond, a mother who has put 13 children through the East Hartford school system, said she thought the uniform was a good idea and is taking it in stride. “I have 15 children, and this one is the 13th to go to this school,” she said. “It’s not hard for me because I only have one in the school system right now.”
In another room, students were asking their own questions about the school year. Andrew Secker, Rachel Conboy and Avalon Pardo were among the seniors who were answering questions from incoming freshman about everything from the uniforms, to academic schedules, to lunch periods.
“You can fight the uniform all you want, but they are here to stay,” Conboy told the students.
Secker suggested getting to school as early as possible to avoid the escalating penalties that come with tardiness. “If you're late to school, you get sent to the tardy tank, which is a little room. Three strikes is a detention, after that it could be an in-school suspension or even a Saturday,” he said.
Conboy said that best thing for a new student is to get involved. “Join a club, join a team and stick with it. You will get to know more people, and have a lot more fun,” she said.