Debate over uniforms in Calcasieu Parish schools

Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Uniforms are at the center of a heated debate in Calcasieu Parish.

The 20-year old policy was relaxed after the hurricanes, but last week, school board members voted to reinstate it. The news lead to a social media showdown between those for and against it.

“Bottom line, it worked, and you know the vast majority of our students are accustomed to it,” said Annette Bullard, vice president of the Calcasieu Parish School Board. “They’ve been doing it for so long, and there are positives with it. You know, absolutely nothing is perfect, but there are so many positives, so I felt like it was a very good decision to make.”

Since the announcement, there has been a mixed emotions about the vote. Some parents took to the internet to express their concerns signing a petition demanding for the uniform policy to be overturned.

With over 1,900 signatures, Krystle, a parent of Calcasieu Parish students, says that uniforms do not prevent bullying.

“I think people think that there is supposed to be a preventative measure for bullying,” Krystle said.”It doesn’t stop that. I have a daughter in high school now, and she went all through middle school, and they were still bullied about things like that all the time.”

Not everyone feels that way. Michael Clark, a parent, feels like the problem goes beyond school uniforms.

“The underlying issue, a uniform isn’t going to change that,” Clark said. “It’s going to be something with the way we raise our kids, showing them the way to treat other people, not to pick or be a bully.”

To teachers like Shelagh Guinley, uniforms help students get into a mindset of going to school to work.

“The example that I always give them is those who go to church on Sunday, they dress for that occasion because they know what’s appropriate and what’s expected of them,” Guinley said. “They’re not necessarily going to wear the same outfit to Walmart that they do to church”

Students will finish the remainder of this school year with the policy suspended, but it is expected to go back into effect in August.

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