Middle school student’s Honors Orchestra hoodie violates uniform policy


DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – A mother of a Comanche Middle School student wanted to buy her daughter something warm she could wear for school that showed off her musical achievements. She would find out later that the hoodie she got her daughter violated the school’s uniform policy.

The mother shared her frustration with the situation on Facebook.

“My kiddo was chosen for Honors Orchestra and last weekend played in the concert for KMEA (Kansas Music Educators Association), a school-sanctioned event. While there, we bought this hoodie so she could wear it at school. Lo and behold, she’s being told she can’t wear it because it’s ‘too distracting.'”

Many people commented on her post, and some questioned if the school uniform policy is worth keeping around.

Comanche Middle School is in USD 443 Dodge City. The school district said it stands behind its decision that the hoodie was in clear violation of the school’s uniform policy. The policy states that students must wear blue or black polos with khakis or blue jeans or approved school spirit shirts that contain the school logo.

Comanche students in outfits approved by the uniform policy (Courtesy: Jesse Comeau)

The high school and elementary schools in the Dodge City district do not have a uniform policy, leading some to argue the point of having it in place for only middle school students.

The policy was put in place in 1997 to stop students from showing gang colors in school, something that was a much bigger issue in the city during the policy’s inception than it is today. But many parents and those working in the school feel that the policy has been very beneficial for students.

“In my opinion, I feel like it has been very successful,” said Comanche Middle School Principal Rachael Pitchford, “Especially at the middle school level, it cuts out a lot of social pressure for our kids that already have a lot of social pressure. Also, with our socio-economic status here, I feel like it’s just an equalizer for all of our students.”

The principal also believes the uniform policy is important for middle school-aged children who are going through a tough age regarding their socialization and helps students keep their focus on their education rather than their style.

“I feel like it helps students quite a bit, and from being a mother of three daughters, I know it made our morning routine much easier as well. They also felt like they could focus more on their education instead of what they’re wearing that day or who had the latest brand or who had what and who didn’t. I feel like at this very impressional difficult age for students already it’s one less thing for them to have to worry about.”

As of now, USD 443 has no plan to remove the uniform policy for its middle schools.

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