CATASAUQUA, Pa. -

Looks like kids in Catasauqua Area School District won't start wearing school uniforms any time in the foreseeable future.

After school board members debated the issue Tuesday night, a discouraged Penny Hahn, the board president, declared it is a dead issue.

Board members did seem to agree on one thing: too many students are not following the district's existing dress code.

Board member Carol McCarthy said uniforms should be required only if the school district is facing a huge dress code problem that only implementing such a policy will solve.

Hahn argued that problem exists now. She said every time she goes to the high school she sees "chests hanging out" and exposed underwear.

She said if girls would be wearing uniform polo shirts, "what are the chances of chests hanging out?"

"I see how the kids are dressing," said Hahn, a volunteer coach for the girl's volleyball program.

Hahn had a 4-3 majority if she had decided to call for a vote to move forward on the student uniforms issue. But she said that support was not overwhelming enough.

Supporting her were board members Carol Cunningham, Duane Deitrich and
Donald Panto. All said they are for school uniforms.

"We thought it wasn't enough of a majority," said Hahn after the meeting.

"There's not definitive support for this," said Cunningham at the end of the discussion.

"I see no reason to even think about moving forward," said Deitrich.

"If we don't have consensus on going forward then we let it die," said Panto.

"I tried," said Hahn. "When people in the community ask about uniforms, I'll tell them what happened."

About 1,700 children attend the district's three schools.

Opposing uniforms for Catasauqua students were board members McCarthy, Dawn Berrigan and Christine Naegel.

Without accurate data to justify the need for student uniforms, McCarthy asked: "How can I make an entire community base their child's wardrobe on something we can't definitively define?"

Board members Mary Alice Hartranft and Christine Nace were not at the meeting.

Without naming names, Hahn believes one of them would have supported uniforms for students, but the other would not.

Hahn began the discussion by proposing a committee of three board members be created to review the Allentown School District's uniform policy and bring some recommendations for Catasauqua students back to the full board.

Allentown implemented its mandatory student uniform policy last September, after debating the issue for more than a year.

Hahn said ASD's uniform handbook had been given to all Catasauqua board members and she asked if they wanted to discuss it.

Hahn said in December the school board voted 5-4 to move forward on developing a policy on student uniforms.

"We could have another motion, but just looking at the people here tonight, I'm thinking it's going to be the same result," said Hahn.

Superintendent Robert Spengler said about six months ago the board considered a motion directing the administration to begin the process of developing such a policy. One board member noted that motion failed.