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School Uniform Proposal Defeated At Three Schools

Pilot program voted down.

A proposal to institute 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 , 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 , 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, s, which would have cost about $175, and the fact that they might have been required to buy them from a vendor.

Others  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%)


Jeffrey Kreitman March 08, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Although fine with outcome - noticed the turnout numbers for Intervale. Unless there was a typo -- appears that only 42 votes overall were cast? This is a very sad statement that only 42 Families out of the entire school felt enough to be involved in a decision that could impact both their children and their wallet.
Vicki March 08, 2011 at 03:47 AM
When the school representatives stated "you are voting on the program, not specifics"....that is where I believe they failed. I am for school uniforms, but voted against the program that the administration presented. I believe the school would have showed the parents/guardians they really valued their opinions if the school brought in vendors with samples and the ability to ask and answer questions. If school uniforms is a direction the school wants to implement, perhaps a good pilot would be a specific dress code such as blue or tan pants and a collared shirt....see how that goes and then come back to the drawing board.
Matt Clarkin March 08, 2011 at 04:13 AM
If I recall correctly (and I could be wrong on this), only parents of kids in 5th grade got to vote at Intervale. If that's incorrect, I'd also be pretty shocked at how low the turnout was considering these ballots were mailed to the parents.
Ellen March 08, 2011 at 04:20 AM
5th Grade parents at Intervale were counted toward the Brooklawn Count. Grades K-4 were counted as Intervale. So I agree, pathetic response rate. My guess is about 15%
Matt Clarkin March 08, 2011 at 04:28 AM
Thanks for the correction, Ellen...did the parents just throw the ballots in the trash or something? That's just sad.
Nick Kumburis March 08, 2011 at 03:39 PM
I agree with Vicki, a true pilot program would start with a dress code of clothes available any where. I remember working for Houlihan's when in college. You needed to have tan slacks and a certain color shirt. The did not require you to buy it from a particular vendor, but allowed you to choose form any store/ vendor you like. As a parent of two, I can attest not all clothes are sized the same and fit varies from vendor to vendor. (Ie Carters fits differently than Gap kids). Having the freedom to chose clothes that fit, not only your kids, but also your budget would have helped this proposal.
Annie March 12, 2011 at 01:14 AM
I am a parent of Intervale students (grades 1 and 4) and I am in disbelief with the vote turnout. We voted against the program becuase of the cost of the uniforms and the specific vendor concept we would have been required to purchase from. I agree with both Vicki and Nicks' issues with the program. The vote turnout has to an error/typo as the parents of the Intervale students are almost always involved in every aspect. It is unbelievable that there would be this much non-participation on such an important topic!!

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