School uniforms being considered in St. Charles Parish

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / January 22, 2000

LULING – Teachers, parents and administrators favor school uniforms in St. Charles Parish Schools. To no one’s surprise, though, students are alittle more reluctant.

Results from a survey conducted by school board staff revealed that 98 percent of administrators, 86 percent of teachers and 79 percent of parents overall favored school uniforms. Only 41 percent of students,however, favored uniforms.

Public information officer Regina Benoit presented the survey results at Wednesday’s meeting of the St. Charles School Board.Benoit urged further study by a task force to be named by Superintendent Rodney Lafon, who would appoint parents, teachers, administrators and representatives of business and industry.

Lafon said he may act to name the task force members by March, with hopes of implementing uniforms in the 2000-20001 school term.

Four questions were sent to parents by way of students, generating a 43 percent return rate, Benoit said. A total of 78 percent of teachers and 78percent of students responded overall.

Asked whether school uniforms should be mandatory, if adopted, all administrators agreed they should. A total of 89 percent of teachersagreed and 75 percent of parents. Only 35 percent of students agreed tomandatory uniforms.

Asked whether a single uniform style should be implemented for every school, only 37 percent of administrators, 31 percent of teachers, 35 percent of parents and 16 percent of students agreed.

Asked whether disciplinary action should enforce the wearing of uniforms, 79 percent of administrators, 74 percent of teachers, 56 percent of parents and 27 percent of students agreed.

Parents were asked two additional questions on the survey, Benoit added.

The first asked whether parents were willing to require their children to wear uniforms daily. Of the responding parents, 80 percent agreed. Askedwhether parents are willing to buy the uniforms, 81 percent of the responding parents agreed.

A breakdown of the survey results, grouped for high schools, middle schools, upper elementary and primary schools, showed the strongest support in the primary schools. In that group, grades K-3, 100 percent ofadministrators, 89 percent of teachers and 84 percent of parents favored uniforms. Students at that level were not surveyed.Support lessened only slightly as the grade level increased. Parents ofupper elementary students favored uniforms at a 78 percent rate. Inmiddle schools, 72 percent of parents agreed, and in high schools 71 percent of parents approved.

Administrators unanimously favored uniforms for primary through middle schools, and 87 percent favored in the high schools. Among teachers,strongest support was in the primary schools, with 89 percent. Upperelementary teachers supported uniforms by an 88 percent margin. Middle-school teachers favored uniforms by a 93 percent rate. High schoolteachers favored uniforms at 74 percent.

Among student support, only 44 percent of upper elementary students, 35 percent of middle school students and 41 percent of high school students favored uniforms.

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