Carteret, NJ – The Carteret Board of Education has approved a school uniform policy for the Nathan Hale Elementary School at a June 11th meeting and town hearing. The school will serve as a pilot location for a potential district-wide policy.
During the 2010-2011 school year, according to Nathan Hale Principal Rosa Diaz, local parents began discussing a uniform dress code at PTO meetings and parent conferences. PTO surveys were subsequently sent to parents. Of the 366 that responded, 90% were in favor of a school uniform policy. Nathan Hale’s faculty and staff have also expressed widespread favor for a uniform dress code.
In 1995, a nationwide study was conducted that highlighted the benefits of school uniform policies, with the intent of instilling better discipline and learning within U.S. schools. Benefits included:
Decreases violence, bullying and theft
Prevents gang members from wearing gang colors
Instills students with discipline
Helps parents and students resist peer pressure
Helps students concentrate on school work
Helps school officials recognize intruders
At the June 11th meeting, school representatives pointed out that fashion among adolescents is often dictated by the music industry and can be influenced by gang activity. Students may inadvertently wear colors or styles that can make them targets of bullying and violence.
“Fashion can also be very competitive within our schools,” School Board Member Donna Kenney stated. “Students may feel peer pressure to wear certain styles that may not be economically practical for their families, or that very often may be inappropriate for our classrooms.”
The one-year pilot program will go into effect September 11th, for the 2012-2013 school year.
Nathan Hale Principal Rosa Diaz said, “I am proud that this policy was initiated by our school PTO and school community. It speaks volumes of the collaboration we continue to foster with all stakeholders to ensure we address the needs of our students. This is one of many factors that can enhance a school’s culture and climate. This uniform dress code will ensure a level playing field for all students and will allow them to focus their efforts on academics rather than fashion.”
Councilwoman Susan Naples added, “We’re excited to have finally made this policy a reality, and hope to eventually implement it district-wide.”
Mayor Daniel J. Reiman added, “My administration has always supported initiatives that can potentially improve social dynamics among our youth, and the quality of education within our classrooms. With so many public and private schools now implementing uniform policies in the U.S., there’s little doubt how effective standardized dress codes can be towards the mitigation of prevalent behavioral issues, while promoting self-respect, respect for other students, respect for our educational institutions, and cost-effectiveness for parents.”