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Uniforms For New London High School?

Policy committee to discuss whether to extend uniform requirement, already in place for elementary and middle schools, to upper grades

The Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday to have the Policy Committee consider expanding the ’ dress code and uniform policy to require uniforms for students at New London High School.

Secretary Jason Catala, who made the request, said he wants to see students “dress to succeed” and that he felt the policy should have already been in place at the high school. Uniforms are currently required for students in the district’s four elementary schools and .

The rationale given for the policy includes the minimizing disruptions from inappropriate clothing, reducing peer pressures on wearing brand name clothing, and minimizing parental costs for purchasing new school clothing. Students may be temporarily exempt if a parent has financial difficulty and extra time is needed to obtain proper clothing or if certain clothing is required for religious beliefs or health reasons.

Uniforms were required for elementary school students beginning in the 2005-2006 school year and middle school students beginning in the 2007-2008 school year. Students are required to wear approved clothing, and the middle school policy further bans any kind of offensive clothing, including items with foul language or gang symbols.

Uniforms are not required at the high school, but since the 2005-2006 school year a dress code has been in place. This also bans offensive clothing, as well as low-riding pants, midriff-bearing shirts or blouses, and shoes with wheels in the heel. Hooded sweatshirts are allowed, but the student must keep the hood down.

Vice President Elizabeth Garcia Gonzalez said she has seen some violations of the code at the high school and suggested that better enforcement might be necessary. Board member Margaret Curtin said a stronger dress code, requiring more formal clothing, could have the same effect as a uniform.

“Some of the things I see coming out of the high school, it really is embarrassing,” she said.

Board member Barbara Major recalled how she took part in protests against the high school’s dress code in 1970. She said the policy should be reviewed as to its application to the school, but said she would not support a uniform requirement there.

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Jason Morris August 09, 2013 at 03:46 PM
I must add again to this topic because while the information I shared above is true, my position has changed due to new information. Research that was conducted on the effects of uniforms in school have show that there is no academic benefit to such a policy, the only improvements are in obedience to rules like attendance. When I weighed in here I was just beginning my focus on education policy, research, and theory in public schools.
Jason Morris August 09, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Also, the ACLU has major concerns about the violation of 1st amendment rights.
Lisa Beth August 09, 2013 at 03:48 PM
I tried to tell you guys/gals that YEARS ago when the topic of uniforms came up. No one listened.
Lisa Beth August 09, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Sorry to hear of your trouble, Kristy. I completely agree, no one stops the kids from being bullies. My daughter was bullied horribly in her senior year at NLHS and no one did a thing. They didn't care. I'd point to the Handbook and the breaches of policy and they just shrugged their shoulders. Nothing was done to help my daughter but they bent over backwards to protect the girl who was bullying her. One of those 'wonderful' people now sits on the City Council. Gotta love it.
Jason Morris August 09, 2013 at 09:48 PM
My household dealt with a bullying issue recently at Jennings, my wife stayed into early hours many nights in a row researching the laws and policies, having meetings with school administrators, speaking with a lawyer just in case. It was very unfortunate that the family of the student who was doing it either didn't take the claims seriously or wasn't able to attend the meetings due to work...but we did our part. In the end, after granting many opportunities for the school take appropriate timely action - at each step there were mistakes and then complete failure which resulted in our demand for expulsion after multiple additional incidents. My daughter was hospitalized with a concussion, and after a CTscan helicoptered to Hartford for an MRI after the fifth (of more) incidents. When the Dean claimed to have a 3 strike policy. Bullying is an important issue for me, and I expect a Board member could ask each school for their policy (because it's school specific on top of state guidelines and district) and actually get a response.

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