Morton High School District #201 finalized a new uniform code to be implemented at the beginning of the next school year (September, 2008). The dress code will include: Khaki pants, shorts, capris or skirts; maroon, green or white polo shirts, oxfords, or turtlenecks; and brown or black closed-toe shoes.

This policy change was made despite criticism from parents and students. According to Morton East Principal Frank Zarate, “All parties will benefit from the new code.”

“It eliminates competition from students.”

“Cost saver for parents.”

“Prevents students from affiliating themselves with gangs through wearing … specific colors.”

“Enhances school security as students are identified through their uniform.”

There are those who will say that this type of extreme action is not needed in
Oak Park and River Forest High School. I would respond that all one has to do is check the weekly police blotter in this paper, and you will quickly know that Oak Park does have gang problems. I would urge the school board to be responsible enough to follow Morton High School‘s lead. Some other safety suggestions:

Close the campus! The students have no need to leave the campus during school hours.

Install metal detectors at all entrance doorways.

Strategically place closed circuit cameras in high density areas. Not only will this alert school officials to trouble, but it will also identify the students involved.

The bottom line is that the world is a different place now than it was 10 years ago. Over 20 students attending Chicago Public Schools have been killed in the last year. Is it necessary for tragedy to take place at
OPRF High School before the administration and board members step up and take the necessary action to prevent harm to any of our students?

Daniel R. Hefner

Oak Park

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