Sue Ellen Gilliland 0

Chilton County School Uniform Policy

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We, the citizens of Chilton County, request that the members of the Board of Education vote against a mandatory school uniform dress policy for all students in every school in this great county. As citizens of the United States of America, we have a fundamental right to rear our children as we see fit which includes dressing them appropriately for school without mandates from elected officials as to the color and exact style of the pants and shirts they wear. There is overwhelming empirical evidence that school uniforms will not improve discipline or academics. Studies on the impact of school uniforms "indicate that student uniforms have no direct effect on substance use, behavioral problems, or attendance ... [and] [a] negative effect of uniforms on student academic achievement was found."(1) Further, it was found that “[t]he notions that school uniforms and zero tolerance for gangs would reduce school disorder and consequently improve student academic performance were not supported.”(2) An article published by The New York Times reported, “Many public schools caught up in school uniform craze of 1990's are giving up on it, finding that requiring students to wear uniforms caused too many problems.” (3) Therefore, we respectfully require that the Chilton County School Board provide more than just their opinion and the opinions of a few surveyed that school uniforms might reduce major disciplinary issues and improve the learning environment. If the School Board wishes to adopt a uniform policy, we require that any such policy be voluntary and contain an opt-out clause that affords constitutional protection to those who wish to assert it. The opt-out process must be simple and undeniable; American citizens should not be made to meet tedious bureaucratic requirements to prove or substantiate their beliefs or to meet arbitrary time constraints to opt-out. Only by providing an undeniable opt-out clause can the Chilton County School Board maintain the guaranteed rights of its citizens and avoid the potential expense and distraction of lengthy litigation arising from a flawed policy. We respectfully request that you table any further discussion on a mandatory school uniform policy for all of Chilton County Schools or, if you feel you must impose such a policy, please make sure that it includes an undeniable opt-out provision. --------------------------------- (1) Brunsma, D.L., & Rockquemore, K.A. (1998). The effects of student uniforms on attendance, behavior problems, substance abuse, and academic achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 92(1), 53-62. (2)Barton, Paul, Harold Wenglinsky and Richard Coley. (1998). Order in the classroom: violence, discipline, and student achievement. The Educational Testing Service. (3) Zernike, K. (2002, September 30). Plaid's out, again, as schools give up requiring uniforms. The New York Times.

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