The Dothan Board of Education’s overhaul of the city school system is an ambitious strategy that officials say will streamline costs while improving educational opportunities for students. Supporters are encouraged, and critics are urged to give the changes a chance.

One old bone of contention is sure to stir up discord – school officials are returning to a uniform policy for grades 9 through 12 beginning next school year after having relaxed the dress code for high school students last year.

However, a presentation at a recent school board meeting by a rising sophomore left board members impressed. Kendall Poteate addressed the board to share her concerns about the impact purchasing required uniforms would have on low-income, single-parent families.

“While to you, it may just be uniforms, to me and many others, it is money that could have paid a bill, bought us food, kept our water and electricity on or paid rent so we could have a home,” Poteate told the board. “The message that uniform policies send us is that sometimes you don’t think about our financial stability or ability to live a life out of poverty.”

School officials should give serious consideration to the young student’s well-reasoned argument.

They should also consider the logic, confidence, and extraordinary poise that enabled her to speak publicly in disagreement with the power structure. That’s no small feat, and we admire her representation of the sort of young adult our schools are helping to shape.

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