New dress code sparks backlash at local high school

da Vinci High School

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- A new dress code policy at da Vinci High School has several Buffalo parents outraged.

A mandatory meeting Tuesday night informed parents of the new policy, which is already published in the 2016-2017 da Vinci student handbook.

“We were never contacted. They’re required to, required to get input from parent-student organizations, so that we have input. They didn’t do any of that,” said Roger Newsham, who was escorted out of Tuesday’s meeting.

Newsham is one of several parents against the dress code, but told News 4 he’s more upset over the fact that he wasn’t given a voice in the decision making process.

We spoke to president of the PTO at da Vinci, Julie Taylor. She said a decision like this has never been made without first consulting parents.

School uniform policies generally require 85 percent parental consent.

According to a da Vinci teacher Ann Marie Caldiero, because the requirements do not include a school insignia, the new policy is simply a dress code, not a uniform requirement.

Caldiero told News 4 the goal of the new dress code is to prepare students for college and the professional world.

She said the decision was made internally by teachers and administrators, in the best interest of the students.

Parent Edward Speidel has a freshman daughter at da Vinci. He’s pushing to get the dress code policy reversed.

“The teacher running the meeting told us we were lucky to have our students attending that school. And I was offended by that because I think they’re lucky my daughter attends their school,” he said.

The new dress code will require students to wear dress pants in navy, khaki, black, or gray.

Students must wear dress shirts, polo shirts, or turtle necks in solid colors like navy, gray, or white.

Jeans, flip-flops, leggings, or hats will not be allowed.

Wednesday evening, News 4 learned the policy is being put on hold, pending input from parents.

An informational meeting on this issue has been scheduled for June 16 at 6 p.m.

Caldiero said not all parents are against the changes. She shared with us the following letter, written by a parent in support of the new dress code.

“Dear Mrs. Krieter,

I was in attendance at last night’s sophomore meeting. That being said, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to you, Mr. Lodinski, Mr. Higgins, and the rest of your staff for your commitment to DaVinci High School and its students. Your hard work and dedication to our children is extraordinary. I want you to know that it does not go unnoticed.  

For the record, I am 100% on board with the way you lead the school.  I totally agree with the standards you set for your students and I absolutely love that you hold them accountable. Furthermore, I am in complete support of the new dress code. THANK YOU for making it a priority. The students need to recognize that appropriate dress, along with basic etiquette, is one of the most common associations made to professionalism and that fair or not, we are judged by our appearance.  As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”.  Now is the time that needs to be instilled in them. 

Again, thank you again Mrs. Krieter, for your wise and strong leadership. Our school is definitely a better place because you are there.

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