Kingwood soon to require uniforms for some students

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Kindergarten-through-fifth-grade students at Kingwood Christian School will be getting a new look next year after the school’s officials implemented a full uniform policy for the 2011-2012 school year.

The uniform policy will require students in K-fifth grades to wear natural or blue khaki pants or shorts, and either red, blue or white polo-style shirts.

Girls may also wear uniform skirts or jumpers no more than 2 inches above the knee, and boys must tuck in their shirts and wear a belt. Girls’ shirts must be long enough to tuck in.

Kindergarten-fifth-graders will be allowed to wear dress code-approved jeans and Kingwood Christian School T-shirts on Fridays and other days approved by the school’s administration.

By enacting a uniform policy, which is the school’s first, Kingwood will be able to focus more heavily on instructional time and have fewer classroom distractions, said incoming KCS Principal Ruth Gray.

“We feel that it will be beneficial to the students and the faculty,” Gray said. “We want to focus on instructional time. We want to cut down on the distractions that come with clothing issues.”

The new uniform code will help the school stick to its Christian message and lifestyle by ensuring students are always dressing modestly, Gray said.

“Our main goal is modesty and living a Christian lifestyle,” Gray said. “That’s why our dress code is more particular than the public schools as far as logos we allow and things like that.”

Currently, the school’s plan is to expand the uniform code through eighth grade for the 2012-2013 school year, and through 12th grade for the 2013-2014 school year.

“It’s easier to implement a uniform policy in the younger grades and have the students grow into it,” Gray said. “It’s more difficult to take the older kids that are used to not having uniforms and throw them a sudden curve ball.”

However, the uniform plan could change if middle- and high-school aged students drastically cut down on the number of dress code infractions over the next year.

Every year, the school deals with numerous dress code violations among its older students, which can distract students and faculty members from their duties, Gray said.

“So much administrative time is being wasted and lost because of dress code issues,” she said. “It’s not beneficial to us as administrators, and it’s not beneficial to them as students.”

If the middle- and high-schoolers lower the number of dress code-related issues by 75 percent from this year to the 2011-2012 school year, the school will not require uniforms in the future, Gray said.

“We are going to give the middle and high school kids the opportunity to decide for themselves. If they can collectively decrease the number of dress code violations, they won’t have to wear uniforms,” Gray said. “We are going to say ‘If you don’t want uniforms, prove that to us with your dress.’

“Hopefully, they will see how serious we are about our modesty standards,” Grey added.