East Stroudsburg will decide on school dress code tonight

DAN BERRETT

A decision will come tonight on a possible dress code for high school students in East Stroudsburg.

Similar to the codes now in effect in Stroudsburg and set to start next year in Pleasant Valley, East Stroudsburg's new rules would set out standard colors and styles of clothing that high school students would be able to wear.

Pants, shorts, skorts and skirts could be khaki or black.

Shirts would have to be polo or oxford style, and could be gray, black or white. At East Stroudsburg North, students also would be able to wear Carolina blue, which is one of the school's colors. At South, they could wear purple.

Layering garments, such as sweater vests, pullovers and fleeces, also would be allowed in the permitted colors.

Supporters say the policy will enhance school safety and diminish discipline referrals while still being flexible enough to allow for individual expression.

Opponents have objected to the costs it would force onto struggling taxpayers, its effect on freedom of expression, its potential to undermine school pride, and what they see as its ineffectiveness.

The nine-member district's school board has proven to be split down the middle in its opinion of the new code. Four members consistently have voiced opinions on each side; the ninth member, Horace Cole, has not taken a side. The board heard a first reading on the policy last month, but did not cast a vote.

In January, it discussed the matter for nearly five hours before failing to take action.

Board policies must go through two readings to be adopted. At least five votes, which represents a simple majority of the board, must be cast in favor of a policy for it to go into effect.

The school board meeting takes place at 7:30 p.m. tonight at J.T. Lambert Intermediate School.