Uniform Expansion Continues in U.S. Schools

Several of the nation's large school systems this year are following the lead of the Long Beach Unified School District and requiring school uniforms. At a July national school safety symposium in New York City, participants from dozens of school districts heard reports from the nation's largest school system about its first year's experience with school uniforms. New York City Schools have found a high degree of satisfaction with school uniforms from principals, guidance counselors, teachers and parents. Other major school districts that recently added a school uniform requirement include Philadelphia and Dade County, Florida. Hundreds of school districts and thousands of schools throughout the U.S. now require uniforms. The experience with uniforms in most schools and communities has been positive with strong parent and public support for the change. This fall in the Long Beach Unified School District a record number of students will be wearing uniforms. All elementary, middle and K-8 schools here require uniforms. The Wilson Classical High School, a magnet program, this fall will require uniforms for its 3,800 students in grades 9-12. Last year, students here recorded the lowest absence rate since 1980 and the lowest suspension rate since 1990. On recent state tests, all districtwide scores increased, and most schools met or surpassed their Academic Performance Index goals. Long Beach Unified School District was the first school system in the nation to require districtwide uniforms in all of its K-8 schools. They begin their seventh year here this fall.