School Uniform Proposal Defeated At Three Schools
Pilot program voted down.
A proposal to institute school uniforms at both district middle schools and Intervale Elementary School was defeated Monday, according to Joan Benos, administrative assistant to Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz.
To pass, the plan would have needed 85 percent approval of parents at each school, but it got no more than 52 percent at Intervale Elementary School, where it received the most votes in favor.
At Brooklawn Middle School the vote was 43% in favor and at Central Middle School it was 40% yes.
School Board member Deborah Orme, who supported the uniform plan, said she wasn't disappointed by the results because parents made their feelings known and she was impressed by the number of ballots returned at the middle schools.
"My personal feeling is that uniforms would have benefited the students but I'm pleased that so many parents voted,'' she said.
Adminstrators at all three schoold advocated the uniforms as a way to create a sense of unity among students and help those who were new to the township assimilate. They also would have eased peer pressure surrounding clothes, they said.
But mom Anne Marie Rizutto, who formed a group called Parents Against Government Intrusion to oppose the uniforms, was happy that the plan was rejected.
"There's a right way and a wrong way to do these things and this was the wrong way,'' said Rizutto, who was banned from public meetings at the schools after she distributed flyers against the plan on school property last month.
After Police Chief Michael Peckerman said that a similar ban against resident Pat Petaccia, who was prohibited from school board meetings until April, was unenforceable, Rizutto said she planned to attend the school board meeting on Thursday.
Rizutto not only objected to uniforms, but to the way the plan, a three-year pilot program, was introduced, she said. She thought more parents should have been involved with the plan earlier than late January, when it was announced at a school board meeting.
Although the school board held information sessions at each school, she thought there should have been more notice. Ballots were sent out February 24 and mailed back March 4 before being counted on Monday.
At information sesseions, many parents were critical of the price of the uniforms, which would have cost about $175, and the fact that they might have been required to buy them from a vendor.
Others denounced the idea of children being required to dress alike and questioned the need for uniforms when most schools in New Jersey that required them used them to decrease violence and gang activity, which aren't a problem in Parsippany.
Here's the breakdown:
|Brooklawn Middle School||Central Middle School||Intervale Elementary School|
|Yes: 209 (43%)||Yes: 181 (40%)||Yes: 22 (52%)|
|No: 283 (57%)||No: 273 (60%)||No: 20 (48%)|