'Our kids recognize the difference'

Zoe Greszler • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 PM

WILLARD — You won’t see Willard students wearing hoop earrings and zip up hoodies anymore, but some other allowances have been made to allow the kids express their sense of self. 

The Willard school board approved several changes to the school’s dress code and handbook during Monday night’s meeting. 

Board members expressed concern over a few of the changes and asked if the students’ feelings and preferences were taken into account. Assistant high school Principal Joe Crawford said the staff met with students on various grade levels to get their input and to allow them to make suggestions and ask any questions about the policies. 

“Some of it is out of a safety concern,” Crawford said. “You can wear a fleece, but it can only have a quarter-length zip (at the neck). If it unzipped all the way it would would be too easy for someone to stuff something in there and hide it. With (the quarter-zip), it’s kind of difficult to shove something under there and pull it out.” 

Another change discussed was the restriction of hoop earrings.

“I can’t imagine telling a high school girl she couldn’t wear hoop earrings,” board member Marsha Danhoff said.

She emphasized the concern for students’ expression of style and personality. Danhoff said the concerns were legitimate. 

Crawford explained it could be too easy for someone to grab hold of the hoop to yank and injure the student during a fight or another instance.

That doesn’t mean the students aren’t allowed to have any freedom of expression. In fact, several lesser restrictions on the dress code were lifted. One such rule being removed was the restriction of solid colors vs. stripes or other designs on the a Polo or Oxford shirt. 

“Most of the changes are to try to streamline things,” Crawford said, adding the students see the value in the policies as well.

“When we travel to like a tennis match, not to pick on (other schools), but our kids recognize the difference,” said Crawford, who also serves as the athletic director. “(The other students) will come walking out of the school and just be wearing whatever and the (Willard students) will see that and they’re like, ‘Oh wow.’”

“It helps too with a professional image and and gets them ready for the working world,” board president Chris Rotthhaar noted. 

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