August 24, 2005 – Posted at 3:15 p.m. CDT
BLYTHEVILLE, AR -- "The research has been pretty consistent, not just in Blytheville, but across the county that the way, students' dress does have an effect on learning. It has an effect on the climate of the school. It has an effect on their behavior, and we've tried to neutralize any negative effects of student attire," said Superintendent Dr. Bruce Daniels.
About 3100 students follow the school uniform dress code policy, and while administrators have amended it every year, they feel this time they've got the formula right.
"I was here before the dress code came, and I do see a big difference in the attitude that the students have. There is less of a focus on how people look and more on education," said high school English teacher Robin Sneed.
Test scores are up, but administration is unsure if it's from the dress code or new academic programs. Even after four years, students are still getting used to the idea.
"When you get to high school, you expect to be an individual and to stand out, and really in uniforms, you are not able to express yourself," said junior Destinee Dillard.
"I understand it's necessary, though I don't really like it," said junior Nick Tucker, "I don't like the way they can send people home, because I feel like our primary goal at school is to learn. If you're sending someone home just for what they are wearing, it kind of takes the focus off education."
However, students admit, it does make getting ready for classes easier.
"You don't have to worry much about what you have to wear the next day," said Dillard.