Hueneme Elementary School District officials have temporarily shelved a controversial proposal requiring students to wear uniforms as a way to discourage gang attire.
Instead, the district's schools will tighten their dress codes and enforce them more rigorously in response to parents' suggestions, Jeffrey Baarstad, the district's business manager, said Tuesday. Parents will receive specific clothing guidelines before the end of the school year, he said.
The district's board of trustees aired the uniform proposal Monday night at a meeting attended by a crowd of parents and students, most of whom spoke against the idea.
Students objected to the conservative khaki uniform, contending it would violate their right of self-expression, create a private-school image, and do little to quell gang activity, Baarstad said.
District officials had proposed the uniforms for its two middle schools as a way to steer students from gang activity, as well as provide an inexpensive clothing alternative and create a more serious academic environment.
Of the 335 parents who responded to a district survey about the uniform, 70% were strongly in favor of it, with 20% opposed and another 10% neutral, he said.
If there had been stronger support for it on the survey and from students, the district might have proceeded with the proposal, Baarstad said. District officials may reconsider it next year, he said, but not without student input.
The district's dress code is vague, advising only that students must be clean and neat. In a separate but related action Monday night, the board amended the code to allow schools to ban gang attire.