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Gender neutral clothing policy sent to Ansonia BOE Ansonia

September 23, 2018

ANSONIA-Despite one parent’s pitch there’s no chance creative clothing like logo hoodies, distressed style pants or chains hanging from belt loops will be allowed in the city’s schools anytime soon.

But boys wearing skirts?

Well that’s a possibility.

The Board of Education’s policy committee is recommending a gender neutral uniform clothing code to the full Board during their October meeting.

The recommendation imposes little change to the current policy with the exception of ridding separate boys and girls provisions. Instead all are encompassed under students.This action was taken to ensure that the school’s policies are inclusive and welcoming regardless of gender identity.

So if a precedent-seeking boy wants to wear a skirt or skort, he might be within his rights.

But he might also welcome administrative intervention.

“If it presents a classroom distraction the administration will address it,”said Fran DiGorgi, policy committee chairwoman.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Joseph DiBacco added that the intervention would not necessarily be punitive but could be a teachable moment.

Still some board members believe that the loophole might be challenged.

William Nimons, who presides over the entire school board said the gender neutral change was made to bring the policy in compliance with worldwide trends.

Many European schools, particularly those in the United Kingdom have gender neutral uniform policies.

“From what I have been hearing our uniform policy has been great,” Nimons said. “It promotes self-esteem and school pride. It eliminates competition.”

But to say it impairs creativity, the school president said “is unfair.”

“Creativity takes place in the mind,” Nimons said. “Not through the clothes one’s wearing.”

DiGiorgi and Tracy DeLibro, another board member, agreed,

“It puts all the students on a level playing field,” DiGiorgi said. “And for those families that can’t afford it, there’s help available.”

Superintendent of Schools Carol Merlone said about 250 students were assisted with clothing purchases last year particularly.

And DeLibro who has two sons who played football for Ansonia High, it made her nightly motherly duties easier.

“We didn’t go crazy shopping for school clothes every year,” she said. “I laid out the clothes every night and there were no worries in the morning.”

In Meriden, two parents began circulating a petition in August urging that district to incorporate a school uniform policy. The proposal has been recommended by some in Derby.

Ansonia’s policy permits dress and Docker-style pants, shorts with no cargo style pockets, jumper skirts and skorts ts worn at the waist remains the same.. The skirts, shorts or skorts must be no higher than three inches about the knee All must be solid navy blue or khaki. Leggings can be worn but under skirts, shorts, skorts or pants. Shorts can only be worn between March 1 and Nov. 30.

Tops in solid colors,navy or Caroline blue or white must be polo or oxford style collared shirts tucked into the pants and adorned with the Ansonia logo. Additionally Ansonia logo crewneck sweat shirts, vests or sweaters in solid Carolina blue, solid navy blue or solid white may be worn over shirts.

Besides the above restrictions, blue jeans, hoodies, baggy or long-legged pants, unsafe footware and oversized jewelery, chains, medallions or earrings and wallet chains are prohibited.

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