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Survey Says: Interest In School Uniforms Is Down

School Board Trustees look over the latest survey on school uniforms.

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – School uniforms appear to be less popular today than they were six years ago, according to a current survey of students, teachers and parents in the local district.
The figures show that that only 39.1 percent of high school/elementary parents are for students wearing uniforms as opposed to 57 percent in 2008, when the first survey was conducted. Of the parents, only 31.5 percent believe that school staff should be required to wear uniforms as opposed to 44 percent in 2008.
The only increase in support for uniforms may be among teachers at the high school who were 69.4 percent for students wearing uniforms. However, the 2008 survey lumped together both the high school and elementary school teachers. The percentage then was 67 percent for uniforms. If figures from both schools are combined from the current survey, the figure drops to 50.5 percent.
The current survey was conducted by Superintendent Kim Chrestman after school board trustees voted last August to seek input from faculty, staff, parents and administration. At that time, Board President Lamar Burgess said, “We have an opportunity to put it to rest as far as I am concerned.”
Other figures from the survey show that high school students are currently against uniforms by 76.7 percent. Students at the elementary school in grades 4-6 are against uniforms by 64.8 percent. In 2008, the combined figure was 58 percent against.
Of the teachers in both schools, 23.5 percent are currently for staff wearing uniforms. That figure is down from about 28 percent in 2008.
The survey asked for comments and one David-son Elementary School teacher wrote: “If it is not broke, why fix it?  As long as students and teachers are following the dress code, then why make this an issue.”
“As a teacher, I do not want to wear a uniform.  I like having a choice.  I like wearing my favorite color if I choose.  I like wearing styles that look good on me, when possible.  I would have the expense of purchasing a second wardrobe.  If I am going to spend my personal money on school related expenses, I would rather spend it on materials for the classroom.  I want my students to have choices concerning their wardrobes as well.  We have an outstanding school district, but I think there are other needs that should be taken into account before school uniforms are considered,” the teacher wrote.
Even among teachers who were against uniforms for staff members, professionalism and the dress code were a common theme. “Though I do not feel that the teachers should wear uniforms, I think that they should be held more accountable for their dress,” one teacher wrote.
Students who support uniforms wrote that wearing them would help reduce bullying and keep students from being picked on for what they wear.

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