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Strict policy created by LSC , despite concerns

By Alma Carmona, Rosalinda Diaz and Elise Guillen

This is the second year of the charter school-like uniform of green polo shirts and khaki pants. Local School Council (LSC) members created the policy in the summer of 2016, even though teachers and students had been speaking out against any type of uniform for several years.

In the spring of 2016, teachers on the Professional Personnel Leadership Committee recommended to the LSC that the uniform requirement be dropped. The teachers presented the results of a survey that showed the majority of staff prefers no uniform.

Above: Local School Council (LSC) representatives Crystal Roman and Robin Russo at the September LSC meeting. The LSC is made up of student, parent, staff and community representatives and the principal. Photo by Jamara McGarry

Teachers said that having no uniforms would save money, free up discipline team resources, support a positive student climate and lead to better community perception. The group noted that most top-rated schools do not have uniforms; uniforms are now perceived to be for the “bad” schools.

Emily Santiago, the 2014-15 LSC student representative, advocated for no uniform at LSC meetings after reporting a Star story in November 2014: “Many schools have stopped requiring uniforms; could we be next?”

The uniform wasn’t popular with students and teachers then, even though it was less strict. Khaki pants weren’t required until 2016.

Last year, a dozen students spoke out against the khakis and polo shirt policy at LSC meetings. More than 100 students engaged in a one-day boycott in November 2016.

The LSC loosened requirements one day a week; “Spirit Fridays” began in January 2017.

The Star reported on these events last year, and interviewed Principal Stephen Ngo, LSC President Vanessa Valentin, parent representative Edeau Long-Oden and Joe Santana, the owner of the company that profits from the uniform shirt sales.

This year, the Star interviewed the LSC student representative Crystal Roman.

Why do LSC members think that the uniform is necessary?

It provides safety for students outside of school. Staff will notice you automatically and help. It shows discipline and looks clean.

Do you follow the uniform policy?

When I have personal issues, I discuss it with the discipline office. I never got in trouble with disrespecting it.

Are there any improvements that you see in year two of the khaki/polo policy?

Yes. This year I see a lot more students wearing the uniform. It improved because 118 and Mr. Ngo are enforcing it even more.

Do you agree with the uniform policy?

Yes, I do, even though it has its complications. Other than that, I do.

What do you think about the Star survey results, that 93 percent of students would prefer no uniform?

I’m glad students are sharing their opinion.

Did you try to speak out for students?

I tried as the student voice, but the LSC had many pros and Mr. Ngo wasn’t going to change it. He liked it just the way it is.

The Star also interviewed LSC teacher representative Robin Russo.

Ms. Russo said she likes it when students don’t wear the uniform for special days like Spirit Week. She said that individuality is expressed and it helps faculty to get an insight on what certain students are like.

“I like seeing you guys in your own clothes,” Ms. Russo said. “Self expression is important at your age.”

She said it is frustrating to fight with students about the uniform. She said that students have to follow the rules, and so do the teachers, and that’s why they have to enforce it. At the same time, Ms. Russo said it’s impossible to enforce this uniform policy 100 percent.

“If we can’t enforce it consistently and fairly, every day, then we should change it so that we are not just spinning our wheels,” she said. “Let’s create a policy that we can all live with and enforce daily for everyone.”

Ms. Russo said she wishes the uniform policy would be like how it is for Spirit Fridays.

“It shows school spirit,” she said.

One comment on “Strict policy created by LSC , despite concerns

  1. Alyssa Smith on said:

    I support the movements made by the students collectively; however, I feel that there are bigger issues within our school rather than the color of our pants and shirts.
    No one is speaking about the way teachers are telling us to learn from Youtube videos. No one is speaking about the race wars going on in the hallways between the Blacks and Mexicans.No one is speaking out about the wanderers in the halls.
    Pretty uniforms aren’t going to make a better school. What happens to us here follows us. It shapes, makes, or breaks us. It takes respect and effort. A uniform doesn’t make the school spirit. It’s the spirit of the students that makes the school.

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