OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
GUIDELINES AND REGULATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTING THE MANDATORY UNIFORM POLICY IN GRADES KINDERGARTEN THROUGH EIGHT
Over the past several years, many parents and community members have urged the District to adopt a uniform policy as a means of countering the influence of gangs, minimizing disruption and improving the learning environment. During the 1993-94 school year, the District tested student uniforms in eleven elementary and middle schools by implementing a "pilot" uniform policy at these schools. The pilot schools thus joined three other schools that had adopted uniform policies approximately three years ago. In evaluating these pilot programs, the District found that use of school uniforms enhanced school safety, improved the learning environment, reduced ethnic and racial tensions, bridged socioeconomic differences between children, promoted good behavior, improved children's self-respect and self-esteem, and produced cost savings for participating families. Schools with greater compliance levels tended to enjoy commensurately better results. Accordingly, as announced in January 1994, the District determined to extend the benefits of the program throughout the District by implementing a mandatory uniform policy for all elementary and middle schools for the 1994-95 school year. For each of the first three years of the mandatory uniform program, the District will comprehensively assess the policy, modifying it as appropriate.
All participating schools will separately determine the appropriate uniform, programs for financial assistance, incentives and compliance measures. In implementing the mandatory uniform policy, it is the expectation of the District that each school will work closely with members of its local community to structure site-based procedures responsive to the community's specific needs.
II. STATEMENT OF POLICY
All elementary and middle schools in the Long Beach Unified School District shall implement, within the parameters set forth below, the mandatory uniform policy beginning with the 1994-95 school year. (The term "school" herein shall mean all elementary and middle schools.)
III. COMMENCEMENT OF UNIFORM POLICY
The mandatory uniform policy shall be effective in September of the 1994-95 school year.
IV. INFORMATION DlSSEMINATION
A. It is the responsibility of district and school support staffs to adequately communicate to parents information common to all school sites, including general guidelines for enforcement of the uniform policy.
District administrators shall also work with schools to facilitate implementation of financial assistance programs (see Section V below).
B. Each school shall communicate to parents information specific to the individual school sites, including:
- types and colors of uniform;
- requirements for jackets/outer garments;
- optional articles of attire, if any;
- compliance measures to be employed;
- the availability of financial support and the procedures for applying for assistance;
- methods to facilitate recycling of uniforms within the school community;
- notice of uniform sales and lists of competitive prices from vendors of uniform articles.
C. The means by which this information is communicated shall include one or more of the following: District newsletter*; school newsletters; parent forums; telephonic notification or through use of a telephone hotline; PTA meetings and newsletters; parent advisory meetings; television, radio, and/or newspaper announcements; posters displayed at school and in the community; registration materials.
V. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS
A. No student shall be denied attendance at school, penalized, or otherwise subject to compliance measures for failing to wear a uniform by reason of financial hardship.
B. With the commencement of the 1994-95 school year, each school shall:
- develop a procedure and criteria to identify families in need of financial assistance;
- determine the form and type of financial assistance appropriate for the individual school community;
- designate a specific staff member or school volunteer to assist those families in need of assistance; and
- prepare a flyer describing in detail the uniform and listing the range of costs for each competitively priced item of clothing as provided by a variety of vendors. The flyer shall state that in cases of severe financial hardship, parents may contact their child's school by phone, mail or in person to request assistance.
C. Each school shall work with staff, the local school community and business partners to identify resources for assisting families.
D. The District shall compile and maintain a list of community agencies, uniform retailers, organizations and individuals willing to assist families in need. The District shall also promulgate procedures to link identified resources with participating schools.
VI. COMPLIANCE MEASURES
A. If necessary, disciplinary action may be taken to encourage compliance with the policy. Since the intent of the policy is not to inhibit or prohibit any student who is not in uniform from receiving the education to which he/she is entitled, no student shall be suspended from class or from school, expelled from school, or receive a lowered academic grade as a result of not complying with the policy.
B. Each school shall develop incentives and positive reinforcement measures to encourage full compliance with the uniform policy. Each school should strive to achieve full compliance through use of incentives and positive reinforcement measures, and should resort to disciplinary action only when positive measures fail to ensure compliance. In addition, schools shall communicate with parents so that expectations, rationale and benefits are fully understood by the student and his/her family.
C. Prior to initiating any disciplinary action against a student not complying with the policy, a conference with the parent must be held with a school administrator or counselor to solicit parental cooperation and support.
D. Disciplinary action is to be initiated only after all other means to secure support and cooperation as mentioned above have not succeeded. A "progressive discipline" approach is to be employed by the school support staff so as to encourage full and consistent compliance with the least amount of disciplinary action. The same disciplinary actions applied to enforce other school and district rules may be utilized, with the exceptions noted in Section VI. A. and F.
E. In order to ensure a smooth transition to the mandatory uniform policy, and in order to ensure that incentives and positive reinforcement measures are employed before resorting to disciplinary action, no school shall take disciplinary action until after October 14, 1994 unless those not in compliance materially or substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline.
F. No student shall be considered noncompliant with the policy in the following instances:
- When noncompliance derives from financial hardship.
- When a student wears a button, armband or other accouterment to exercise the right to freedom of expression as provided by Education Code 48907, unless the button, armband or other accouterment signifies or is related to gangs, gang membership or gang activity as provided by Education Code 35183.
- When a student wears the uniform of a nationally recognized youth organization such as the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts on regular meeting days.
- When wearing a school uniform violates a student's sincerely held religious belief.
- When a student's parent or guardian has secured an exemption from the uniform policy by following the procedures set forth in Section VI. G.
G. If the parent(s) or guardian desires to exempt his or her child from the uniform policy, the parent(s) or guardian must observe the following procedure:
- Request by mail or in person an Application for Exemption from Uniform Program ("Application"). The parent(s) or guardian may obtain an Application at the student's school site.
- Complete the Application in full and submit it to the designated administrator for uniform program exemptions at the student's school
- Meet with the designated administrator to discuss the uniform policy and the nature of the parent(s) or guardian's objections to the policy. The purposes of this meeting include (1) ensuring that the parent(s) or guardian understand the reasons for and goals of the uniform policy; (2) verifying the accuracy of the information on the Application; (3) preventing fraud or misrepresentation.
- For purposes of consistent administration of the uniform policy meet with a designated district administrator to discuss the nature of the parent(s) or guardian's objections to the policy.
VII. ANNUAL EVALUATION
A. All schools will participate in an evaluation at the end of each school year for the first three years of the mandatory uniform program. Thereafter the evaluation of the uniform program may be included in the school's regular review process.
B. The District shall design an evaluation for districtwide use. Each school shall complete its respective evaluation by May 1 of each year. The schools and the District shall review the results of the evaluations and the District shall consider proposed modifications to the uniform policy as appropriate.
These guidelines and regulations may be amended or modified as a result of the final version of SB 1269 as signed by the Governor of the State of California.
Effective: July 12 1994
The District requires all students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 to wear a school uniform as identified by the student's school. In cases of economic hardship, help in obtaining uniforms is available. You may obtain an exemption from the uniform requirement. For more information, call your child's school. If there are any problems, call Paul McKendrick at 997-8000, ext.7116. If you are unable to resolve your concerns, you may obtain a Parent/Guardian Complaint form at your child's school.