School uniforms becoming the style

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 25, 1999

By MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / April 25, 1999

LAPLACE – Coming down the runway in St. John the Baptist Parish publicschools is the newest style – school uniforms.

Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School was the first school togo before the school board to request a uniform policy. Both Garyville/Mt.Airy and John L. Ory Magnet School are wearing uniforms this year. LeonGodchaux Junior High, LaPlace Elementary, East St. John Elementary andThe Glade School have made requests to the board this year for implementation of a uniform policy next fall.

John L. Ory principal Teri Noel said she is sold on the idea of schooluniforms after seeing the effect they have had on her school this year. Shesaid school discipline has been improved overall and that it makes it easier to identify students when they are taken on field trips.

“Our experience has been very positive,” Noel said. “The parents have beenvery supportive. We have had no difficulty with parents following thepolicy. And the students have been very positive about it.”Garyville/Mt. Airy principal Mike Coburn said uniforms have also helpedraise the self-esteem of every student in the school. Coburn said it hasalso helped parents economically.

“They have been nothing but great for us,” Coburn said of the uniforms. “Ithink uniforms are the way to go, and I think every school should go to them. It puts everybody on the same playing field. The kids love them andthe parents love them. It has brought our school together.”The Glade is the latest school to make a request to the School Board to be allowed to implement a uniform policy, making a presentation to the board at its meeting Thursday night.

Melissa Faucheux, Glade School’s disciplinarian, was the driving force in formulating a plan to bring uniforms to the school. Faucheux pointed outthat uniforms take the competition out of dress and help school officials identify students who do not belong on campus. It also deters school toschool transfers and adds a measure of safety. And they create a sense offeeling of oneness and belonging, she said.

“Students feel a part of something,” Faucheux said. “It is like when theyget selected for a sporting event. They get to wear a uniform andrepresent their school.”A survey of students and staff at the school was taken with 84 percent of the students and 98 percent of the staff favoring the implementation of a mandatory school uniform policy. Ballots were also sent home to parentsof Glade students with 96 percent of the respondents in favor of uniforms.

Faucheux said students had input in what the uniforms will look like, making them feel a part of the process.

Faucheux said a buy-back policy for the uniforms is also being implemented. Parents can price the items which they want to sell in aself-addressed envelop. Glade will sponsor a Used Uniform sale that willbe held at the end of the year for uniforms that have been maintained and can be worn again but for a reduced price. When the item is sold, themoney will be sent directly to the parent.

“We knew we needed a way for the school to improve discipline, and I think this will be a plus,” Faucheux said.

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