Over the past few years Hiatt Middle School has enjoyed unprecedented success in terms of student discipline and supportive administrators. To further these efforts, Hiatt adopted a uniform dress code for its students starting in 2009. While this institution historically had a less-than-stellar reputation, Amos Hiatt Middle School has made significant changes with their policies, administration, and student behavior and (more importantly) have the positive results to prove it.

The addition of school uniforms (which consist of polo shirts and khaki shorts/shirts/pants) to this environment gets met with mixed emotions. The reasoning behind the policy is three fold. Although middle school students are at the age when they start defining themselves partially by their appearance (i.e. clothing style) and removing that sense of “individuality” may not sit well with some, this will allow educators to reinforce the notion that a person is not defined solely by their appearance. This is certainly a concept students should learn as early as possible. The dress code policy also is designed to take pressure off of students to “keep up with the latest trends” which can place a financial hardship on families. By everyone wearing the same outfit, parents and students do not have to worry about students “fitting in” with their clothing. The last and most important benefit is school safety. Any person without a uniform is easily detected and can be immediately directed to the main office. The dress code also reduces the issue of certain colors or jewelry styles having negative meanings. When students arrive at school, they are professional looking and ready for learning.

Clear communication and defining expectations to parents, students, and community have proven successful at Hiatt Middle School.