Letter: Uniform issue should be put to rest

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To the editor,

Time for a history lesson. It was the late 1990’s when I had the honor to sit on the Region 16 Board of Education. I remember well the evening when a concerned parent brought forth the concept of school uniforms. After a brief discussion with faculty, staff, parents and board members, it was decided not to move forward with any type of action regarding a school uniform policy.

The board saw absolutely no merit in instituting a uniform policy back then and quite frankly there is no reason to revisit the subject. With all due respect, it is not the job of politicians to get involved in school policy, especially when the politicians involved don’t even have children in the school system involved. A uniform policy is a very local issue. What works in one city doesn’t mean it’s right for Region 16, and vice-versa.

Also concerning to me was the apparent rush to have a survey. Is it now Region 16 policy to hold a survey for every request received? How much time, effort and money were spent at the busiest time of the school year on this survey? We in Region 16 are lucky to have a great team with Superintendent Yamin at the helm. We, as residents, must allow that team of professionals, along with the elected Board of Education, to use their talents and common sense to make the decisions needed to support our great school system.

I realize that in this overly “PC” world we live in it is sometimes difficult to resist the urge to try to make everyone happy all the time. Working in the public eye is stressful and seems thankless at times. I urge the Board of Education and our staff and faculty to keep their eye on the prize: a quality and safe learning environment for our children. And please, once and for all, put this uniform issue to rest.

Peter A. Christensen

Beacon Falls

1 COMMENT

  1. I completely agree that state representatives should not be using their position to influence district policy. Further, I question their commitment to uniform policies because they have only asked Region 16 (Beacon Falls and Prospect) to change to a uniform policy. I have seen no public mention of any similar correspondence with the Amity, Bethany, Cheshire, Derby, or Seymour school districts. Are we the only poor school district who needs the state to tell us how to save money?

    Public, municipally funded school districts in Connecticut that have a uniform policy include: Waterbury, Hartford, Bridgeport, Norwich, New Haven, New Britain, Wolcott, and New London. Five of these eight cities are on the 15 Most Dangerous Towns in Connecticut list based on crime statistics and published online by the Southbury Patch, September 1, 2014. Four of the eight schools’ uniform policies specifically prohibit wearing gang colors. New Haven allows individual schools to choose their uniform colors specifically to avoid local gang colors. I am not aware of gangs being a problem at Region 16. Where’s the problem?