SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Revised 2-8-07

PURPOSE:
The purpose of the School Uniform Policy is to provide additional opportunities for increased school safety, to encourage our students to experience a greater sense of school identity and belonging, to encourage an improvement in student behavior, to reduce school clothing costs, to encourage a high level of program participation and to improve and expand academic excellence.

ANNUAL EVALUATION:
In a continuing effort to measure the effectiveness of the School Uniform Policy, all participating schools will submit to the Superintendent the Annual Uniform Evaluation (Form 7) of the program by May 1st of each year. Through the evaluation instrument, St. Tammany Parish Schools will have the opportunity to address concerns relative to the Policy and all persons involved in its implementation.

SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY

1. A standing School Uniform Committee will be established at each school. This Committee will be responsible for conducting periodic parental surveys to determine whether the school will adopt a Mandatory School Uniform Program or make changes to the current uniform.

The School Uniform Committee will be composed of the following:
Two (2) Parents/Guardians, preferably one (1) of whom is the PTA/PTSA President,
Two (2) Teachers,
Two (2) Students and
One (1) Administrator, who will also serve as the chairperson/facilitator.

The School Uniform Committee will hold a meeting to receive input from the parents/guardians of that school.

2. Each school Committee shall select a specific uniform for all items of clothing, which may not include footwear. Outerwear for cool weather is not to be included by the School
Uniform Committee as a part of the uniform. Uniform selection shall be made by the first Thursday in February of the year that a Mandatory School Uniform Program is to be initiated, if agreed upon, and immediately sent to the Superintendent for approval. The school shall receive approval back from the Superintendent by the third Thursday in February. Upon approval, the school shall begin displaying the uniform in a manner that all parents/guardians will have the opportunity to become familiar with it as soon as possible. The Committee shall also provide methods for the recycling of uniforms.

3. The School Uniform Committee must notify parents/guardians and students of the required survey procedures through announcements, school newsletters, parents/guardians organization meetings or other suitable means.

4. By the first Thursday in March of the year that the Mandatory School Uniform Program is to be initiated, if agreed upon, parents/guardians of eligible enrolled students shall be mailed a description of the proposed uniform, a survey on official school letterhead and a selfaddressed stamped envelope. Parents/guardians will receive a survey ballot (Form 1) for each eligible child currently attending the school, with results documented by the Committee (Form 6). Eligible feeder school parents/guardians will receive all notifications at the same time. The school’s survey timeline must not be extended. Surveys must be returned or postmarked to the school by the third Thursday in March. A parental vote representing a simple majority (fifty percent plus one)of the valid returned surveys must be in favor of implementing a Mandatory School Uniform Program for students in order for the school to adopt uniforms. The School Uniform Committee will verify the tabulated results and send them (Form 6) to the office of the Superintendent. Results shall be announced to the parents/guardians by the second Thursday in April. No changes or additions to that school’s
uniform requirements can be mandated after that date without a full vote of the parents/guardians.

5. Any school that has or had a yes vote for uniforms in two consecutive cycles shall continue requiring uniforms without further voting. Any school that had a vote on uniforms in the 2005-2006 school year that received a majority approval, but less than two-thirds, will be allowed to take a new vote in 2006-2007, with the simple majority provision for passage. If a school votes to implement a Mandatory School Uniform Program and does not meet the standard for permanent uniform approval, then uniforms are mandatory at the school for a period of four (4) years, with the exception of those students whose parents/guardians have been granted an exemption from the Program. The effective date of implementation of a Mandatory School Uniform Program is ten (10) operational days from the first day of school of currently enrolled students and ten (10) operational days from the date of enrollment for all other students. At the end of four (4) years, the procedure for implementation must be repeated with a parental vote in order for a Mandatory School Uniform Program to continue at the school until they meet the two consecutive votes in favor of uniforms.

6. The survey procedure may be revisited with a petition of at least 51% of the parents/guardians of eligible students, (including eligible feeder school parents/guardians), at the school expressing the desire to adopt or rescind a Mandatory School Uniform Program. The petition to revisit the uniform issue shall occur no more than once during any school year. Upon receiving a valid petition, the School Uniform Policy steps shall be followed. The parents/guardians, according to the petition submitted, may then vote on mandatory uniforms at their school for the next school year.

7. Calendar dates may be adjusted with the approval of the Superintendent based on unusual circumstances.

GUIDELINES FOR TALLYING VOTES
In tallying votes, keep the following in mind.

1. The number of students in YOUR school should be the number in membership as of the date the survey was distributed.

2. There will be one (1) vote for each eligible child enrolled. In other words, if a family has three (3) children currently enrolled in the school in grade levels eligible to vote, there will be one (1) survey for each child, for a total of three (3) votes. The tally is based on the number of returned surveys. You cannot use a survey if it has more than one (1) child’s name written on it.

3. When calculating the percentages, a simple majority (fifty percent plus one)of the returned surveys must be in favor of the option of school uniforms in order to proceed with implementation.

4. Survey results will be verified and tabulated by the principal and at least two (2) other members selected from, and by, the School Uniform Committee. Surveys must be safeguarded to ensure that no results will be released prior to the end of the voting period.

5. Parents/guardians of graduating seniors shall not be given a survey ballot.

6. Parents/guardians of students in an exit grade at a particular school shall be included only in the survey of the school the student is expected to attend the following year.

SCHOOL UNIFORM SELECTION GUIDELINES
Any school where there is a parental vote representing a simple majority (fifty percent plus one) of that school’s valid returned surveys in favor of a Mandatory School Uniform Program, the following criteria must be met when choosing the School’s official uniform.

1. Uniforms must comply in all respects with the provisions of the St. Tammany Parish School System Dress Code Policy found in the District Handbook For Students and Parents.

2. The selected uniform must be appropriate to the school setting and reasonably relate to safety, modesty, hygiene, discipline, and neatness.

3. The uniforms should be representative of the entire student population rather than being gender-specific or symbolic of any particular ethnic or social group.

4. The selected uniform may not present a safety or health hazard. Uniforms must be designed to ensure that the uniform does not distract students from the educational process.

5. Individual schools may choose the color(s) of their school uniform.

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP
Each school that adopts a Mandatory School Uniform Program shall also adopt procedures that address the financial hardship that some families may experience as a result of their compliance with the Program.

These procedures shall be disseminated in detail to the parents/guardians through special bulletins, school newsletters, parent organization meetings and other suitable means.

Severe, bona fide, demonstrated financial hardships may be considered for exemption from a Mandatory School Uniform Program if, and only if, other means to provide uniforms free of charge or at a nominal charge are not available. Such a request should follow the procedures set forth in the PROCEDURES FOR EXEMPTION.


PROCEDURES FOR EXEMPTION
Parents/guardians may request an exemption from a Mandatory School Uniform Program by submitting a written request to the school principal, prior to the beginning of each year or at the time an exemption may become existent but not before the first Friday in August. A request for
an exemption must be made within 10 operational days from the effective date that the Mandatory School Uniform Program is implemented, or from the date that the student is initially enrolled in a school that has adopted a Mandatory School Uniform Program or the occurrence of an act that would provide a basis for an exemption. Exemptions may be granted for religious reasons, financial hardship or other justifiable reasons. When parents/guardians seek immediate exemption from the Program, the following procedures must be observed.

1. A written request for an exemption must be made and submitted to the school principal by using the Application for Exemption Form (Form 3), which may be obtained from the principal or his/her designee at the child’s school. The application must be fully and correctly completed. Additional sheets may be attached to the form as necessary.

2. The school principal or other designated administrator must meet with the parents/guardians within five (5) operational days from receipt of the Application for Exemption (Form 3) to discuss the Mandatory School Uniform Program and the indicated reason(s) for requesting an exemption from the Program. The purposes of the meeting shall include (1) assurance that the parents/guardians understand the reason for and goals
of the School Uniform Policy and (2) verification of the accuracy of the information on the Application for Exemption (Form 3).

3. The parents/guardians will be notified by the principal in writing of the outcome of the conference within three (3) operational days after meeting with the principal or designee. If the outcome of the conference is to grant the parents’/guardians’ request for an exemption, they will be notified in writing that their request for an exemption has been approved (Form 4). The principal will sign off on the original Application for Exemption
(Form 3) and forward it to the Superintendent. If the outcome of the conference is to deny the parents’/guardians’ request for an exemption, they will be notified in writing (Form 5) that their request for an exemption has been denied.

4. If the principal does not grant the exemption, the parents/guardians may appeal the denial of the exemption by writing to the Superintendent within five (5) operational days of the principal’s denial, requesting his/her review of the principal’s denial of exemption. The Superintendent may affirm or reverse the decision of the principal at a hearing to be scheduled within five (5) operational days of the receipt of the appeal. The actual hearing may, but is not required, be held within five (5) operational days of the receipt to the appeal to the Superintendent.

5. If the Superintendent affirms the principal’s denial of an exemption, the decision can be reviewed by the St. Tammany Parish School Board if, and only if, a written appeal is presented within five (5) operational days to the Superintendent. The Board will schedule a hearing on the appeal within five (5) operational days of the receipt of the appeal. The Board may affirm or reverse the decision of the Superintendent. The Board’s decision is final.

EXEMPTIONS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
The right of school systems to require the mandatory wearing of uniforms has been determined not to be in violation of students or their parents/guardians Constitutional Rights.

The Mandatory School Uniform Policy of the St. Tammany Parish School Board, if adopted by a particular school, is a valid and neutral regulation and policy of general applicability not aimed at the promotion or restriction of any particular student’s,
parent’s/guardian’s exercise of their Constitutional Rights, but for the benefit of all students to promote the general educational purpose of the Board in carrying out its mandated responsibilities.

Any restrictions upon students’, parents’/guardians’ Constitutional Rights resulting from the application of the Mandatory School Uniform Policy is no more than necessary to facilitate the Board's interest in promoting the educational mission of the Board.

Based upon the foregoing, it is the position of the Board that under no circumstances can a blanket exemption be warranted based upon allegations of an impermissible violation of a student’s, parent’s/guardian’s Constitutional Rights.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, an exemption can be requested upon these grounds by a parent/guardian and each will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The burden, as with all requests for exemption, shall be upon the parent/guardian to clearly and concisely state the Constitutional Right relied upon and how the Mandatory School Uniform Policy impermissibly violates that right.

COMPLIANCE MEASURES
Each school participating in a Mandatory School Uniform Program should strive to achieve full compliance through use of incentives and positive reinforcement measures, and should resort to disciplinary action only when positive measures fail to ensure compliance. In addition, the
school’s rationale toward and benefits from the Uniform Program should be explained and fully understood by the student and his/her family.

No student will be considered non-compliant with the Uniform Program in the following
instances.

1. When a student wears the uniform of a nationally recognized youth organization such as Boy Scouts or Girls Scouts on regular meeting days;
2. When a student’s parent/guardian has secured an exemption from the Uniform Program;
3. While an appeal of an exemption is pending under the described School Uniform Policy;
4. During the first two (2) weeks after transferring from one school to another within the Parish or from outside the Parish;
5. When a student is on campus outside of normal school hours;
6. The school principal shall have freedom on special occasions to allow students/student organizations to have special dress-up days. An Application for Students to Wear Class, Club or Athletic Wear in Lieu of School Uniform (Form 8) shall be used when a request is
made for dress on special occasions in lieu of the school uniform.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION
Schools that have a Mandated School Uniform Program shall be allowed to impose the same
discipline as that of the St. Tammany Parish School Board dress code.


Ref: Board Minutes April 23, 1998, revised February 14, 2002, revised February 8, 2007