WAPELLO — Although newly purchased third alternate uniforms do not strictly comply with the school district’s uniform color policy, the Wapello School District’s boys and girls basketball teams will be allowed to use them, the school board agreed on a split vote during its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday.
According to athletic director Michelle Wade, the athletes raised the funds to purchase the uniforms and then created the design and chose their colors. For the boys it included shirts with a dark gray background with “Wapello” and the player’s number in the school colors of royal blue and gold. A wide blue stripe also ran down the side.
Wade said the girls uniforms were basically the same, except the background color was black and there was no side stripe.
A school policy initially adopted by the school board in 2007 mandates all school uniforms are to be in the school colors, with the only exception being white for home basketball uniforms, as mandated by the National Sports Federation.
Wade accepted blame for the mix-up, explaining she had not fully read the policy before approving the order be sent to a supplier.
“I read through the policy, but when I read through (it), it was more to get the specific percentage of each color. I clearly did not read it all the way through,” she acknowledged.
Wade also said she had failed to read the last provision of the policy which required all school uniform purchases to be approved by both the district’s athletic director and the superintendent.
“I never brought it to the attention of the superintendent. I never realized, based on the policy, that I was to do that,” she said.
Wade reminded the board the student athletes had raised the money themselves to purchase the clothing and had developed the design. She also said the uniforms would only be worn during special games, such the school’s Pride Game event.
Board member Doug Meeker pointed out the baseball team had gray uniforms, while there had also been Pink-Out games where the teams used pink uniforms. Board member Matt Smith also said the band uniforms were black.
“The board needs to decide how it wants to proceed,” Superintendent Mike Peterson said, explaining it could amend the policy language or allow a special exception for the new uniforms.
Board member Duane Boysen said changing the policy or allowing the alternative colors would thwart the reason for the policy and could lead to a proliferation of other colors.
“I know how much time I spent with the public arguing back and forth,” he said, recalling when the policy was first adopted 13 years ago.
Board president Doug Housman then suggested as long as the Wapello name and the numbers remained in the school colors, other background colors might be allowed.
Peterson said he would develop an amended policy and present it later.
In the meantime, the board approved on a 4-1 vote to allow the new alternate uniforms on an interim basis. Boysen voted no, while Smith, Housman, Meeker and Dave Moore voted yes.
In other action, the board:
• Adopted several board policy revisions recommended by the Iowa Association of School Boards;
• Agreed to continue for another month the district’s current face covering policy, which requires staff and students to wear masks during most school time.