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Richmond County School Board gets update on dress code policy, recognizes student and staff

Zane Searcy delivers his third-place speech from the American Legion Oratorical Contest during the May meeting of the Richmond County Board of Education. Photos by Chris McDonald

HAMLET — Celebrating the monthly Inspiring Excellence Awards, the American Legion Oratorical Contest winner, uniform policy family discussions and an update on the safety grant were topics on the docket at Tuesday’s Richmond County Board of Education meeting.

Inspiring Excellence Awards

West Rockingham School Principal Joy Watson presented the monthly Inspiring Excellence Awards to three of her staff and faculty: ELA Teacher Amy Allen, Angelika Cameron and Nathaniel Short.

(See photos at the bottom of this story.)

Zane Searcy Oratory Presentation

Zane Searcy, a junior at Richmond Senior High, was recognized as the third-place finisher of the state American Legion Oratorical Contest in Chapel Hill in early March. He presented his submission, “A Strong Tower of American Duty,” to the board and at the completion was showered by a standing ovation from all in attendance.

“…Duty, honor, country…those three hallowed words do indeed enclose the essence of a strong nation,” said Searcy. “Without them, we would surely crumble beneath the pressure. Only through fulfilling our responsibility will our nation’s integrity be maintained.”

“Zane, you finished third? asked School Board Member Cory Satterfield. “I’d like to know what those first two did.”

“God bless whoever had to follow that,” added Scotty Baldwin.

Searcy’s mother, Sandi, was especially proud of his courage and confidence.

“I’m standing here shaking in my boots, and he goes and does that,” said Sandi Searcy.

“Every English teacher’s dream, right there,” added instructor Shanda Roberson.

From left: Dr. Joe Ferrell, superintendent; Richmond Senior High Principal Jim Butler; Zane Searcy; Sandi Searcy,; School Board Chairman Wiley Mabe.

Construction and Safety Grant Update

Steven King gave an update of the remodeling projects at Richmond Senior, Fairview Heights and Mineral Springs.

“Progress meetings will be held monthly with the principals of all three schools at the job construction trailer at Richmond and at the conclusion of the meeting, they will then collectively tour the three job sites,” said King. “Every other Tuesday of the month, meetings will be held by Zoom with the architect and the contractor to discuss things as well.”

King also spoke on the update of the installation of the OpenGate threat detection device at the high school. After a thorough description of the system, board member Ronald Tillman asked if the detection system had been installed yet.

“They have not been delivered yet,” said King. “The company will come and help us set up and train our staff on how they work.”

Uniform Policy

Melvin Ingram, executive director of Auxiliary Services, presented a first draft of a proposal for changes to the RCS Uniform Policy.

“I’m very happy to stand before you with the fruits of our work and the feedback of our feedback sessions we’ve conducted in the schools,” said Ingram. “We had 132 families represented and
it was a pleasure to meet with them and I got really good feedback because they were happy to have their thoughts heard about this uniform policy.”

Last year, a student started a petition to do away with the uniform policy. Click here to read that story.

Ingram went on to describe how the policy name will change from being referred to as a “uniform policy” to being a “dress code.”

“We showed three samples of how we were moving away from a uniform policy to a dress code and noted what they liked about those particular choices.”


Ingram said that they were quite in-depth about what the parents’ ideal top, bottom and footwear would be as well as miscellaneous items.

“We are asking that you look at this as a first read in concert with the raw data you will be sent.”

Chairman Wiley Mabe pointed out that this submission was taken under advisement.

“As a point of reference, this is for us to consider for 30 days and we will vote on it at our next meeting,” said Mabe.

The next meeting will be held Tuesday June 6 at 5 p.m. at the Central Office in Hamlet.

(Note: This story has been updated to give appropriate attribution to a quote. 9:46 p.m. 5-3-23.)

Dr. Joe Ferrell, Principal Joy Watson, Teacher Amy Allen, Board member Scotty Baldwin
Dr. Joe Ferrell, Principal Joy Watson, Angelika Cameron, Board member Scotty Baldwin
Dr. Joe Ferrell, Principal Joy Watson, Nathaniel Short, Board member Scotty Baldwin