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Pascagoula-Gautier School District rescinds uniform policy

Students who attend any Pascagoula and Gautier public school can once again wear regular clothing, based on a district dress code, when the 2022-23 school year begins.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 7:30 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2022 at 7:29 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Back-to-school shopping will look a little different this year for the students in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District.

Tuesday, after a school board meeting that lasted 33 minutes, the Pascagoula-Gautier School District made the decision to rescind its uniform policy entirely for all schools within the district.

Students who attend any Pascagoula and Gautier public school can once again wear regular clothing, based on a district dress code, when the 2022-23 school year begins.

The district made changes to its dress code last year, allowing high school students to forgo the uniform policy in favor of a district-approved dress code, after which the board would revisit the uniform policy again at the end of this school year.

Going forward, all students K-12 are free to wear outfits that conform to the dress code spelled out in the district handbook.

The 4-0 vote in favor of dropping the district’s uniform policy for all students in all PGSD schools did not sit well with outgoing superintendent Wayne Rodolfich. He noted he was not consulted about proposed changes to the district’s dress code until hours before the Tuesday meeting.

Seconds before the actual vote, he gave a passionate plea to school board members.

“There are some things happening in both of our communities outside of school, and I would caution you about making the inside of school look like the outside of school. That’s a mistake,” Rodolfich said.

The superintendent was referring to recent gun incidents in neighborhoods in both Pascagoula and Gautier. To Rodolfich, it’s imperative to have “a standard of discipline and expectations on campuses for dress and everything else.”

Rodolfich said the 2021-22 school year at the two high schools included more fights than ever before. He noted Pascagoula and Gautier High School students were free to wear what they wanted on their campuses.

School board member Matthew Johnson took exception to the comparison between jeans and fights.

“I don’t know we can say blue jeans turned our high schools upside down,” Johnson said. He noted graduating seniors in jeans earned millions of dollars in scholarships.

The new dress code regulations will be added to the school district handbook and available to parents by the time registration begins in July.

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