CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A clash over public school uniforms in New Jersey has supporters in Cliffside Park saying the dress code will help students focus on studies and not fashion, but some parents are worried about a different kind of appearance.
The district’s school colors are red and white, the same colors as the proposed school uniforms. The topic has the town divided.
“I think it’s better to just have uniforms, you know what to wear in the morning so you’re not late,” high school senior Kaitlyn Martinovic tells CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Jordy Olmedo says he wore uniforms in grade school and now he’s done with them — but on Tuesday he was wearing a shirt we couldn’t show on TV.
“I liked it when I got here and they said no uniforms,” he said.
“I don’t like it at all,” one parent said. “It reflects badly on our town. Its not a poor town, my children want to dress the way they want to.”
Some moms who spoke with CBS2 said most uniform policies are in lower income neighborhoods.
“I’ve heard it’s bad for property value… because it’s more for inner cities,” parent Maria Barios said.
The school’s superintendent is waiting to voice an opinion after he hears from parents at a public hearing Tuesday evening.
He says there are definite benefits to uniforms.
“It would downgrade bullying, consistency as far as student dress is concerned,” Supt. Michael Romagnino said. “It maybe eliminates competition between kids.”
Mother of two Mushka Hasandjekic agrees, and says it takes her kids way too long to get ready for what she calls the day’s fashion show.
“He wants to stay in style with the newest trends,” she said. “There’s no reason we’re spending as much as we’re spending.”
But some parents say the school district has bigger fish to fry, including improving test scores and dealing with increasing class sizes.
Romagnino says the board of education can focus on multiple tasks, but that this will help the kids.
Barios fears the new policy will take away children’s individuality, while other parents say kids already know how to dress down. The uniforms will teach them to dress for success.
The board of education will vote on the uniform policy at a later date.