Poll: Should Summit Require Public School Uniforms?
The Board of Education opens talks tonight on a one-year school uniform pilot project.
Updates: Added quote from Summit parent and Superintendent Nathan Parker.
Tonight's Summit Board of Education meeting will open discussion on a sometimes contentious topic for school districts: a school uniforms policy.
The board is asking for feedback to see if it should consider a one-year pilot program to require school uniforms and expects to hear from parents at tonight's Board of Education workshop meeting.
"This idea is in the very early thinking stage,” said Cathy Fernandez, who handles communications for Summit Public Schools.
The issue of a dress code or school uniform has been raised in school districts all over the country in the wake of stricter rules to address school bullying and class performance. The idea some parents and educators believe is that school uniforms present a level playing field for all students and takes triggers for name-calling or popularity contests out of the class equation.
School uniforms is one of those topics that everyone has an opinion on according to Summit Superintendent Nathan Parker. "In this particular case [the idea] gained traction at one of the schools," he said referring to parents at Lincoln-Hubbard discussing the issue. Parker's former district in Orange maintained a dress code policy, but the superintendent didn't say whether he was for or against having schools uniforms in Summit.
Nearby, the issue drew the rancor of local students when the dress code issue came up in Livingston.
Here in Summit parents are asking each other questions about what it means to have dress code that requires a school uniform.
Should Summit even test out a school uniforms policy? If so, would it work better in elementary schools, the middle school, or in high school?
Who will pay for them? Do school uniforms contribute to a more focused learning environment?
These are questions likely to be raised this evening when the BOE opens talks on the subject.
Patch checked in with a Facebook friend whose discussion stream was lit up with varying points of view. One parent felt a dress code stifled self expression by making every student dress the same. Another parent pointed out the savings in having one or two rotating uniforms.
Tracy Claus is one of the Summit parents who sees both sides of the debate, but with four girls she says a uniform would be a big help in getting ready in the morning. “It will also help to eliminate the ‘label wars’ with who has what brand name," she said in a Facebook comment thread. "I'm surprised more schools don't do it especially in a town like Summit where there are the "haves" and the "have not’s," she wrote.
Although she doesn't have much faith in a school uniforms policy taking hold in Summit, Claus saw other benefits as for students who like to show a little bit too much when it comes to dressing for school. “I wouldn't mind if they enforced the current dress code so that the girls' chests weren't hanging out all over the school," she added.
"I'm a 41-year-old married mom, and I can't concentrate when I see some of the gals with tube tops on. Can't imagine how the poor boys can even see straight with that show going on," Claus said.
Decency, concentration, cost, there are pros and cons when talking dress code in school policy, and students and parents are passionate about it from many different perspectives.
The board of education will discuss school uniforms as well as the school budget at its workshop meeting tonight at 7:30p.m. in the board conference room of Wilson School (14 Beekman Terrace).