Concerns raised over gym uniforms in Jim Thorpe
Long before Jim Thorpe Area High School had a school uniform, students were required to purchase a gym uniform from the school store.
Some parents are saying that gym uniform is now out of date, especially because it is more restrictive than the dress code.
More than 90 people have signed a petition posted on Change.org earlier this month. The petition seeks to allow students to wear school-themed T-shirts and colors other than white.
“If you’re going to enforce the dress code for school, the same colors should be allowed for gym class. I don’t understand what the white represents. Girls don’t like wearing white,” said Amy Rohrman, a Jim Thorpe high school mom who started the petition.
The dress and grooming guidelines in the school handbook require students to wear blank collared shirts, but they can be colors including navy blue, royal blue, traditional red, black or white.
For gym class, however, the uniform must be a white T-shirt with blue shorts. The school requests that students buy at least one designated gym uniform, according to Principal Tom Lesisko. The school does have a supply of uniforms for students who can’t afford them.
“We believe the uniform brings continuity and modesty to the PE classes,” Lesisko said in an email.
He said he hasn’t heard any complaints from parents about the gym uniforms.
Parents can buy additional T-shirts and shorts as gym uniforms wherever they want.
According to the handbook, failure to wear gym clothing is a Level 1 offense, the same level as chewing gum or a public display of affection. Possible punishments for level 1 offenses include a detention or loss of privilege of taking a school-issued laptop home.
She would at least like to see the school allow students to wear clothing from their other sports teams, something which she said is allowed in the elementary schools of the district.
“It feels like they’re going backward, like they’re being treated like elementary kids and not the adults they’re supposed to be growing into,” she said.
One signer said teenage girls should not have to wear white if they’re uncomfortable, and other school-approved colors should be allowed.
Another signer suggested that uniforms in multiple colors should be provided to students each year.
Rorhman said she thinks the focus on the gym uniform is an unnecessary distraction, which takes away from the actual gym class instruction.
“I think all of us as parents are wondering, why can’t the board just allow the kids to wear the normal school color shirts and shorts,” she said.
To view the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/jim-thorpe-school-board-jim-thorpe-high-school-allow-students-to-wear-dress-code-colors-in-gym-class.