"The uniforms, in my opinion, are a good idea. They are very professional looking, they are cheaper than buying clothes every week and they show school spirit. This also means we don't have to worry much about how we look.
"I also think that uniforms have reduced peer problems. People have more friends that they wouldn't normally have because of the way they dress.
"Uniforms seem to be solving problems."
Hoover Middle School student
"It shows that I don't want to be a gang member. It shows that I'm a good person."
Lincoln Elementary School student
"Uniforms have been a positive here in Long Beach. The feedback we get is that schools have fewer reasons to call upon the police department. There's less conflict among students. The uniforms tend to equalize the playing field. Students concentrate more on education, not who's wearing $100 shoes or gang attire."
William C. Ellis, chief
Long Beach Police Department
"We don't seem to have a problem with the kids who are in uniform. I think it's been a great success."
Sgt. William Brough
Long Beach Juvenile Division
"Just slapping clothes on kids won't improve a school, but uniforms accompanied by other reforms can make a difference. Uniforms send a message and remind students that they are in school. One element of the message is that when you are going to school, that is your place of work. That is the place where you are working at getting smart."
Co-Principal, Newcomb Academy
"I think it's great news for all of us who have advocated school uniforms as a way of building community."
Theodore R. Mitchell
Dean, UCLA School of Education
- Long Beach Unified School District is the first large urban school district in the United States to require school uniforms
- School uniforms are required in kindergarten through grade 8 in 60 elementary schools, 15 middle schools and one high school serving approximately 72,000 students.
- Under California law, parents can request an exemption from school uniforms. However, each year only approximately 1,500 parents (about 2 percent) request such exemption.
- Uniforms enjoy a high level of community support. In an unofficial survey January 18, 1994, more than 80 percent of Long Beach Press-Telegram readers who responded said they support school uniforms. A 1995 LBUSD survey of parents showed 91 percent agreed that school uniforms improve the school environment.
- Financial assistance is available to disadvantaged children from indigent families. Privately funded--at no taxpayer expense--local organizations have provided more than $160,000 in uniforms to Long Beach children. A key group supporting uniform donations is Operation School Bell, a philanthropy of RickRackers, an auxiliary of the Assistance League of Long Beach. Other major contributors include the Long Beach Education Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Long Beach, Rotary Club of Long Beach, Greater Long Beach Board of Realtors, local churches, physicians and teachers plus hundreds of individual donors
- Other major school districts requiring school uniforms are Dade County, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Oakland, California; and Charleston, South Carolina. Many large urban school districts have one or more schools now requiring uniforms
- The uniform in Long Beach consists of navy blue or black shorts, pants, skirts, shorts or jumpers; and white shirts or blouses.
- Each school selects its own uniform. The affordable generic uniforms are available from more than 40 local retailers and discount stores.
- Parents report that three uniforms cost about the same as one pair of designer label jeans.