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'Business casual' on the horizon for Pinkerton Academy students?

Union Leader Correspondent

November 15. 2013 6:20PM

DERRY — Pinkerton Academy continues to struggle with proposed changes to its dress code for students next year, asking them this week to share their views in a survey on the policy that suggests barring jeans for daily wear.

Pinkerton now has a dress code, but it's somewhat broader in its selections. The clothing options proposed include khaki pants, polo shirts or button-down shirts, along with skirts, skorts and shorts of appropriate length, according to Headmaster Mary Anderson.

Administrators want to gauge students' views on the policy that calls for changing to "business casual," Dean of Students Glenn Ahrens said Friday, hence the survey. If the dress code is approved, the changes wouldn't occur until the 2014-15 school year.

"We are still just trying to test the waters and see what people's feelings are," Ahrens said.

The "Unified Dress Code," as it is now called, would narrow the choices and eliminate denim for day-to-day wear, Anderson said. Students might still be able to occasionally wear jeans as part of more casual or "dress-down" days, she said.

The two questions were asked Thursday as part of an overall student survey, Ahrens said.

First, students were asked: "If you were not required to purchase our Unified Dress code clothing from a single store or vendor, but to purchase it from a variety of stores, would you be in favor of a Unified Dress Code?"

This question was based on input administrators received from students and parents about whether they could only buy the clothing from one store, Ahrens said.

The second question asked: "If you were not required to have a school logo on the clothing items, would you be in favor of a Unified Dress Code?"

This question was also based on the input of students and parents.

"Same thing, I go out to buy a nice shirt from JCPenney — does it have to have a school logo on it?" Ahrens said.

Since it sounds similar to "uniform, " Administrators considered removing the word "unified" from the policy, Ahrens said.

"We've tried to stop using the word 'unified,' but unfortunately it was part of the survey," Ahrens said. "I think in many people's minds, 'unified' means the word 'uniform,' and that's just not the case."

He added, "Kids will have a choice to make it more varied."

At an on-campus fashion show earlier this year, Student Council members modeled clothing that would be allowed under the proposed dress code, including polo shirts and even a sweater vest. Some students said they liked the proposed options, Ahrens said. Others said, "I wouldn't wear that in a million years," he said.

The survey results could be available as early as next week, Ahrens said.

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