School district town hall meeting addresses proposed changes

13 Mar 2014 | Lance Cpl. Jared Lingafelt

Students, teachers and parents gathered at the Lejeune High School auditorium to discuss proposed changes affecting students aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 13.

Representatives from the Camp Lejeune District Schools presented a new proposed school dress code, future requirements and expectations of the schools and the new common core education standards.

“It was another opportunity for the school district to communicate with parents,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Castellvi, commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “It was a very civil discussion, and everyone who wanted to express their opinion had an opportunity to do so.”

Although multiple important topics were addressed, the proposed school dress code garnered the most attention.

“So many parents are passionate about the proposed school dress code; whether they agree with each other or not, each person was able to express themselves in a safe and open environment,” said Kathy Hall, Lejeune High School, school board president.

Parents of future high school students also attended to learn more in the years ahead of their children’s education.

“I came to the meeting to be more informed on what was going to shift the decisions affecting our students,” said Tanyetta McKoy, elementary school parent and military spouse.

With differing opinions on the issue, the debate gave a chance for patrons on either side of the topic to share their concerns.

“My children should be able to express themselves,” said Laura Romero, a parent and military spouse. “Most of what I saw in the presentation was too conservative.”

Others felt the changes would be an opportunity for students to focus more on learning, rather than what they should be wearing.

“When I was growing up, we were raised to dress professionally,” said McKoy. “Students are here to learn, and we need to recognize that some clothing or lack of clothing can be distracting.”

The town hall meeting was also a forum to discuss concerns and opinions affecting their children’s education.

“Each school administrator has principal chats once a month, which are advertised usually in the school newsletter,” said Hall. “We also have school board meetings once a month on the third Thursday of each month where parents are always encouraged to attend.”

Dr. Aldridge Boone, the Camp Lejeune District Schools superintendent, says getting involved early is the key to success in these important topics.

“It is extremely important to get your voice heard,” said Boone. “The mistake we make sometimes is we wait too long to express our opinions, and the process gets too far down the road and it’s too late.”

Regardless of the issue, getting involved and being informed is no doubt the key to being a part of the solution, said Castellvi.

“Use any forum you can to communicate with your school district and your teachers, and this is one of those opportunities where you can get face-to-face and take part in very civil discussion,” said Castellvi.

Patrons left the meeting reassured that their concerns were heard, giving the school administrators a chance to hear what is important to the parents and families affected by the changes.

“For the base, parents and school administrators, it allowed us to reaffirm our commitment to our students and enhance the communication with each other,” said Castellvi.



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