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Parents encourage school board to act on school uniforms

Three parents of students in the Sunnyside School District faced the school board at last week's monthly meeting and encouraged the directors to act quickly and consider implementing school uniforms.

Bengie Aguilar, Luz Balderas and Selene Gonzales told the school directors they would like to see them act sooner than later on this issue.

According to Sunnyside High School Principal Brian Hart, this topic came up at the school's monthly parent-teacher meeting last April. Parents were asking about the possibility of the school district making the move to school uniforms.

During the May parent-teacher meeting the topic was discussed in more detail.

"This was brought up by the parents and many were in support," Hart said. "I think if people get behind it, it's something to look at."

Aguilar said she and some other parents serving on a safety and health committee for the school district learned about the possibility of school uniforms by looking at available data.

"We learned in some school districts where uniforms have been implemented there has been drastic reductions in gangs," she said. "We need to try anything we can. If this will work let's try it."

That is why she went in front of the school board last Thursday night, to make sure the board was aware many parents support this idea.

Gonzales said she wants to see the board implement school uniforms because it would help with the discipline and safety of the district's students.

"Now that the city council has passed the gang ordinance I'm concerned with the color of shirts my son might wear," she explained. "He might be mistaken for someone else."

She said she is worried gang members might attack her son because he might be wearing the wrong color of shirt or that the police might mistakenly think her son is a gang member.

She also added having uniforms would take away certain stereotypes such as jocks, nerds and other labels, if all the students are wearing the same clothes.

"The uniform will help the students feel like they belong," Gonzales said. "They don't have to be fancy. Just white or black shirts and khaki pants."

Like Aguilar, Gonzales would like to see school uniforms implemented in the school district as soon as possible.

Another point Gonzales brought up was a survey she said the high school did a few years ago. Students were asked if they favored school uniforms and Gonzales said she believed at least 90 percent of them said no.

"What the board needs to take into consideration is that the parents are the ones that make the decisions," Gonzales said. "This should be a parent-school board decision.

"We have presented to the board and they have listened," she said, adding parents are now waiting for a decision.

This decision should come in September as last Thursday Sunnyside School Board President Lorenzo Garza directed Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole to form a committee to study if such a policy would work and how it would be implemented in Sunnyside.

This committee will report back to the board with its findings in September.

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