LONG BEACH : Judge Refuses to Block Rule on School Uniforms

A federal judge refused Friday to block the Long Beach Unified School District from requiring nearly 58,000 elementary and junior high students to wear uniforms next fall, a move aimed at avoiding gang-related problems.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real denied a temporary restraining order sought by parents who opposed the requirement, but he set a hearing on the matter for June 20.

The district's board, however, will meet June 7 and is expected to adopt a list of methods aimed at ensuring compliance with the uniform requirement.

The district wants to assure that children who have to go through gang territory on the way to school do not become targets because of their attire, said attorney Catherine B. Hagen, who represents the district.

Hagen said uniforms are required in 10 Long Beach schools and they have helped reduce truancy and spur more involvement by parents.

The policy would affect 57,500 students in 56 elementary schools and 14 middle schools.

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