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LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — A small group of vocal parents get their way in Lowndes County.

A month after voting to go to school uniforms at all grade levels, the county school board backed down Friday, giving schools the right to opt out of uniforms if they want to.

The change came under pressure from Caledonia parents.

The county’s principals and several parent committees spent months studying the issue as a way to improve school safety and save parents time and money. But some parents have fought the change since it first came up.

West Lowndes already has uniforms in grades K-8 and was about to add the high school. Teachers there say it’s been successful, caused few problems and drawn widespread parent support.

But administrators now say they Caledonia and New Hope likely will opt out of the uniforms and stick with standards dress codes.

The board also refused to move the county’s alternative school to space not being used at West Lowndes Middle. The county now partners with Columbus on an alternative school but it costs the county about $265,000.

Moving the school to West Lowndes Middle would allow the county to save that money by using existing staff. But a school board coalition between West Lowndes and Caledonia representatives blocked that move while voting for the uniform opt out.

Comment on this Story

  • Michelle

    It’s because our voices were heard…and that’s the way it should be…when you only count the votes that were turned in instead of counting every vote that wasn’t turned in.. You clearly see the majority of parents in Caledonia did NOT want Uniforms!!! That’s how it’s supposed to work

  • Melony Beard

    2300 in the district answered no to a survey for uniforms. Many of the yes votes were altered or engineered in various ways but were not marked by actual parents. It wasn’t a small group of parents by any means who fought against this agenda. The announcement at today’s board meeting was untrue that only 38 emails had been received. Not to mention the countless calls and letters mailed. A petition was signed with hundreds of parents that was not brought out at the board meeting. This was about half and half New Hope and Caledonia parents. This information is not being reported correctly. If you would like the correct information I can provide you some proof to back up much of what I have mentioned here. Let’s attempt to report our news honestly so that people can get the truth and not some version of it.

  • Cari Hall

    I attended the meeting today, and what happened was a joke! One board member took it upon herself (after voting in favor of the uniform policy previously) after some pressure from a small group of parents, to add a line item to the agenda excluding Caledonia. Excluding one school from the policy is a ridiculous notion to propose in the first place. Why should one school be excluded? The board had voted on the issue previously and it had passed. Parents had an opportunity before that vote to voice their concerns. Ultimately decisions like these should be left to the board. The faculty at these schools will now have to continue wasting their valuable time enforcing a dress code, and the children who violate the dress code (because parents aren’t being held accountable for what their children wear) will miss class time because of it. It’s a sad situation, and the Lowndes County school board has lost a lot of credibility in my eyes.

  • Melony Beard

    I propose that the parents who made phone calls, mailed letters and sent emails AGAINST this uniform policy to our administration and board members, please comment on this article that they were part of the communication that went on over the past month. I, for one sent emails and made phone calls and so did my husband.

  • Jennifer Watkins

    There were many parents who stepped up and worked together for our children on this issue. Many of us have been making phone calls, sending emails, signing petitions, and doing anything that we could to come together against the issue of school uniforms. Thank you to all of the MANY parents who worked together for this. Those of us who participated know the truth that this was in no way a small group!

  • Pam Wilson

    I was at the meeting today and was very glad that the board reacted to the parents concerns. Mrs webber did an awesome job representing the parents and kids. She explained that there were pros and cons. The board listened and voted accordingly. Mr wright flat out lied. There are a lot of parents that have voiced their opinions and the want for the uniforms to be removed. He said he only had 38 and 10 were from the same person. Maybe it’s the only ones he read or took a call from him. I know for a fact he does NOT answer nor return phone calls. So he right out lied at that meeting. I know lots of parents and teachers that have voiced their concerns to him with no kind of response. Shame on you as an elected official for lying to everyone. By the way I did NOT vote for him nor would I. And as for the lady that said the board lost credibility in her eyes. Well they gained it in my eyes. Very glad the parents were actually heard and stood up for by the board. Again thank you to the board and mrs webber.

  • Pam wilson

    I was at the meeting today and I was very proud of how mrs webber represented the caledonia parents. I was also proud of the board for letting the parents speak and siding with us. As for the lady that commented about the board losing credibility with her, well I totally disagree they gained it with me. It shows if you stand up for something you believe in you may actually get heard. That is what is wrong with our nation today, people set back and let one person run everything while the country goes to hell in a hand basket to put it bluntly. It took only one person to take prayer out of schools. So thanks to the parents today and through the fb page for standing up for something you believed in. Now to mr wright. Shame on you for lying to the people who elected you, by the way I did not nor would I have voted for him. He stood up and said that only 38 people had voiced their opinions against it and 10 of those from the same parent. Maybe 38 is all he took a call or email from, because I personally know he won’t answer calls or return them so he flat out LIED.

  • George Seabrooks

    The publicly elected board member did what the people of her district asked of her and that was vote OUR opinion. That is what all publicly elected officials are suppose to do. This is still a democratic nation and not a communist dictatorship. This decision was being forced upon the people that said NO. The faculty would still have to enforce a dress code even with uniforms. Kids that ‘bust a sag’, kids with the wrong jewelry, etc. If we will just enforce the dress code as it is now, it would resolve some the same problems. If the kids go home for breaking the dress code rules then the parents will change what their kids wear.

  • George Seabrooks

    I attended the school board meeting today and VERY PROUD of how it went. Thank you Brian Clark and Jane Kilgore for voting the wishes of Caledonia parents. Mrs. Gray you gained credibility with me as well. Uniforms won’t make kids safer or smarter. You can find any study to support any opinion you want. That’s why a study doesn’t mean much. This is still a democratic society and not a communist dictatorship. We voted and then we were being told what we were and were not going to do……that doesn’t sound very democratic. Just uphold the dress code that is already in place and discipline the children that break it. Blame the parents or the children but when rules are broken, punishment follows.

  • Phyllis

    I faxed three letters opposing mandatory school uniforms to Mr Wright’s office, and called his office twice and left a message each time. He returned my call each time, and we had a fairly lengthy conversation the first time and a relatively short one the second time. Both times he insisted the primary reason for wanting uniforms is for the safety of the students. PLEASE! School uniforms are NOT going to keep our children safe.
    I also addressed Common Core and expressed my disapproval. Beware parents! The liberal leftists have incorporate much that those of you with (1) a Biblical world view will not approve of and (2) a genuine love for America and the principals she was founded upon will not approve of.
    Also, my husband faxed 3 letters to Mr. Wright’s office as well. And I called and left a message for each board member expressing my opposition to the uniforms.

  • Victoria

    Is this article meant to be an editorial? The use of slanted words is best suited for an opinion piece, not an article reporting an event. “Flinched”, “got their way”, and “coalition blocked that move” are not neutral sounding words/phrases.

  • Luise

    Implementing Commn Core is not optional. The Mississippi Department of Education adopted those standards for the entire state. Perhaps you should express your concerns to MDE.

  • Sandy Garison

    I emailed all of the school board and the superintendant. I only got a reply from Brian Clark and Lynn Wright. Brian wanted to hear what the parents wanted, but Mr Wright had already made up his mind what he wanted and nothing was going to change his mind. It was more than just a few parents fighting this, to say it was a few parents is an understatement.

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