FULLERTON : Schools May Try On Voluntary Uniforms

Children in the Fullerton School District may be encouraged to wear uniforms to school next fall.

Principals of seven elementary schools will seek permission at tonight's Board of Trustees meeting to create voluntary uniform programs, according to board member Robert C. Fisler.

In an April amendment to the district's dress code, the board said individual principals could request authorization for voluntary uniform programs at their schools.

Principals at Commonwealth, Laguna Road, Raymond, Richman, Rolling Hills, Sunset Lane and Valencia Park elementary schools polled parents and teachers in the past month about the dress code plan, according to Konnie Gault, community liaison for the district. The response at all schools was favorable, Fisler said.

Advocates of uniforms have said they are cheaper and cannot be confused with gang clothing, but some people worry that children's creativity would be stifled.

"The general feeling is that there would be less competitiveness in the dressing," said Minard Duncan, principal of Richman, as he read some poll responses from parents. "It would be cheaper and easier."

Duncan said 85% of the parents he polled were in favor of voluntary uniforms. Almost half of the questionnaires for parents about the uniform policy were filled out and returned, he said.

About two-thirds of the 25 regular teachers at Richman would also support the policy, Duncan said. "They don't want (the students) to look like gang members," Duncan said.

But some teachers opposed the uniforms, he said, out of concern that parents would have to spend extra money.

Duncan said he would like a simple outfit of dark pants and a light shirt for boys, and dark slacks or a dress for girls, with a light blouse or shirt. "We don't want people to have to go out and buy new clothing," he said.

Board Member Fisler said no one has called him to protest the voluntary uniform policy. "I am leaning very much in favor of it," he said. "I really think parents will welcome it."

The La Habra School District began a voluntary uniform policy last September, which became popular at some schools, according to Rosemary Herendeen, that district's director of staff development and curriculum.

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