Debate over Calcasieu Parish school dress code

Updated: Jul. 31, 2019 at 5:38 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s a debate that comes around every school year; should kids have to wear uniforms to school?

A Facebook poll has garnered thousands of votes about whether or not Calcasieu Parish students should have to wear a uniform to school.

Donnie Fuslier uniform poll
Donnie Fuslier uniform poll(kplc)

School uniforms, or a dress code as the school board calls it, have been around in Calcasieu Parish for nearly 20 years.

“The selling point that they told everyone was bullying," Donnie Fuslier said. "You know, the kids wearing designer brands, were bullying the kids wearing Walmart.”

Donnie Fuslier, the creator of the poll, said he was in school when the uniforms went into effect.

However, he believes they don’t actually take care of bullying, and instead stifle creativity, and end up costing parents more money.

“The kids that can afford the American Eagle and Aeropostale brand uniforms, are making fun of the kids that are getting Walmart or Goodwill, because that’s what their family can afford,” Fuslier said.

His opinions are backed up by the more than 1,300 people who voted to get rid of them on the poll.

However, more than 900 people voted to keep them, something that Holly Holland with the Calcasieu Parish School Board spoke on.

“While we know all of our students will never be on a complete even playing field, this does help us move in the right direction," Holland said.

In regards to students being able to express themselves, she said there are plenty of outlets for their creativity in school in other ways.

She also said not only can uniforms help with social issues, it’s also an added safety measure.

“If you have someone on campus who is not in uniform, it immediately raises an eyebrow," Holland said. "You know, who are you, can I help you, what are you doing on our campuses? It’s easier to identify that person who doesn’t belong.”

Fuslier’s rebuttal to that point was that teachers aren’t required to be in uniform, so someone dressed differently could simply be mistaken as faculty.

Despite the school board’s arguments in favor of uniforms, Fuslier said due to the poll results, he plans on creating a petition to get rid of uniforms.

“Once I can get enough signatures to where the school board has no choice but to take notice, then I will present it to the school board," Fuslier said.

He also said he wants to meet with educators to come up with a comprehensive dress code in place of the uniforms.

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