BOE makes good, collarless call

Published 6:46 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Beaufort County Board of Education made a smart move when it decided to remove the requirement for collared shirts from its school dress code.

The requirement put an unnecessary burden on families for a variety of reasons. It’s a classic case of how a rule can cause more harm than good.

Many parents in the county have said shopping for their kids’ school clothes was more difficult under the rule because it eliminated many choices for tops.

This could have potentially made choices easier for parents, but instead the requirement backfired because it actually made appropriate school wear harder to find. Besides a polo shirt, the options were slim to none.

And not only that, but the extra effort of finding a collared shirt doesn’t really have substantial reasoning behind it.

A collar serves no purpose in comparison to a regular T-shirt when it comes to skin coverage, so the school system was essentially inconveniencing parents in the name of “looking nice.”

The requirement was especially burdensome for low-income families in the county.

In general, collared shirts tend to be more expensive than the average T-shirt. It may seem like a small difference, but over time, it can add up — especially if your child grows out of his clothes every year.

According to Beaufort County census information, the number of people below the poverty level from 2007 to 2011 was about 19 percent, which is higher than the statewide percentage.

The median household income for the same time period was just shy of $41,000.

These numbers mean that many of the families in Beaufort County do not have the resources to spend extra money on clothing, and if they do, there are ways the money could be better spent.

There’s nothing wrong with collared shirts, but the board was right to leave that kind of constraint to the private schools.