Will Salem Public Schools Get Uniforms? [POLL]

Superintendent Russell says schools are using common sense to determine if parents want to have students in uniforms; surveys are due Monday.

The school uniform survey that parents are being asked to fill out and return by Monday was not designed to be scientific, but rather to give the schools an idea of how parents feel, according to Stephen Russell.

The survey, which went home this week with the students, asks 10 questions – in either English or Spanish.

“This was an informal 'non scientific' survey designed to solicit folks' preferences/opinions on school uniforms,” Russell wrote in an email.

If 51 percent or more of the responding parents at each elementary school vote in favor of having their students wear uniforms, the school principal will appoint a committee of parents and teachers to look “at the pros/cons of school uniforms and whether to go ahead with the idea (or not),” Russell wrote. 

“This process would be used to help ensure that there is enough interest in the school and among the parents to proceed with uniform adoption. For example, if the vote tally is 'too close to count', that's one message. If it's 80 percent in favor vs. 20 percent against, that's another type of message.” 

Russell wrote: “We are trying to insert a 'common sense' factor into the process as well.”  

If the committee decides to go ahead with uniforms, it would develop proposals for design and colors. The superintendent said he expects that the committee will seek out students' opinions as well.

If parents do not want their child to wear a uniform to school, they will be provided with that option, Russell wrote.

“Mayor (Kimberley) Driscoll's and my intent is to follow-through on the many parent suggestions/requests that we received during this past year,” Russell wrote.

One of the suggestions was to adopt school uniforms and use the uniforms “as a way to instill pride in student's and their schools,” he said.

Be sure to take our poll to let us know if you think students should have uniforms, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Kelly d... April 28, 2012 at 05:54 AM
The school committee has totally lost focus! Please someone tell me how putting my son or daughter in a uniform will bring their reading level up? They need to stay focused on the real issues " academic achievement "........And what about the special needs & at risk children? isn't that how we got to a level 4!
Cindy Johnson April 28, 2012 at 03:09 PM
In past meetings, Latino parents expressed interest in having school uniforms. The countries they hail from require them (both public and private schools). Cities like Lawrence, which is 70% Hispanic (Salem is 15%), have embraced uniforms for this reason. Lawrence also required them to reduce gang violence and improve safety, which makes sense for them--not for us. Unfortunately, I don't see parents in Salem embracing this concept, especially since we tried it in the past and we know they didn't. Having specific groups of students who wear them and others who don't may even do more harm than good.
Josh Turiel April 28, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Pretty much what I've been saying here and in the Twitterverse. I don't have a problem with uniforms, actually - I think they are OK. But in a public school environment where you can't really enforce it I think they are pointless. Given that Mass. law makes it unenforceable I don't see the point of wasting time as a city with it. If you want your kid in a uniform, send them to a private or parochial school that mandates uniforms. Otherwise let's just move on, put this to rest, and get back to the business of fixing Salem's public schools.
Rick Johnson April 28, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Well stated, Josh and Cindy. It's time to get to work on the initiatives that DESE recommended in its report.
Cwheels April 28, 2012 at 09:38 PM
I see this as a way to distract us. Those in charge don't know how to get our schools back on the right track, first eliminate school choice, now this. I don't know all the facts but by the looks of things we should be welcoming receivership.


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