It was a different Proviso Township High School system four years ago. That is when a school board and administration, riven by fears of school violence and its inability to fully secure its buildings, turned to uniforms for students. The goal was to smother signs of gang influence and to exert control over the distractions of inappropriate clothing worn by young people fairly desperate to stand out.
Uniforms — lots of khaki and polos — were a top-down decision imposed by a failing power structure. And, yes, the Review enthusiastically supported the action at the time.
Now things are different, both within District 209 and more generally with our teens.
One manifestation of these changes is the near certainty that the district is about to end the uniform requirement as of next fall. In its place will be a “dress for success” model, crafted in recent months largely by students. Our young people will choose their wardrobe based on a new dress code that specifically prohibits the items students agree are inappropriate for a school setting focused on academics. So no saggy pants on the boys. No tube tops for the girls. And skip the flip-flops, night caps and short skirts.
The energy for this well organized campaign came from multiple sources, including the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board and a group of Proviso East students studying the subject in an English class. School officials met with students to express their issues related to school safety and climate.
The final product was based on the aspiration of “dressing for success” rather than focusing on items that are outlawed. That is always a winning strategy.
Good for these students who have done their research, responded to legitimate concerns, and implemented a campaign that has won over both administrators and the school board.
Thanks, Sally Cody
Sally Cody, one of the stalwarts at Forest Park Village Hall, is making her gradual, gracious exit. After 36½ years.
Cody, certainly the face of village hall as well as its glue, is stepping down from full-time to part-time status after a family vacation. She spent half her village hall career as a communications operator in the fire and police departments. The other half was spent upstairs working as executive secretary, supporting both Mayor Anthony Calderone and the village administrator.
Of recent note, Cody blended her village hall connections with her advocacy of public art to champion the “Cover Our Rust” project which turned dozens of local groups into artists as they remade the rusting concrete façade of the Circle Avenue Bridge over the Ike.
In a Facebook post, Cody lauded her colleagues, present and past, but said, “I cannot wait to find out what adventures await me in retirement.”
We can’t prognosticate but we can speculate that Cody’s future will involve more projects like the bridge and a very strong focus on bringing out Forest Park’s best.