school uniforms 

By Loreth Beswetherick The survey results are in — the majority of parents of Myrtle Philip elementary school students like the idea of school uniforms. However, the numbers still weren’t good enough to meet the criteria set by the Myrtle Philip Parent Advisory Council. The PAC voted 75 per cent of families must respond to the survey and 75 per cent of the school’s families must be in favour of uniforms before they will be implemented. Maureen Donovan, one of a group of parents exploring the option of school uniforms, said they had an 85.7 per cent response rate to the survey. Of the respondents 67.6 per cent indicated they were in favour. This means more than 50 per cent of the school’s families like the idea. Donovan said there were 12 spoiled ballots where some parents had indicated they were in favour while their spouses or partners weren’t. "We also had some strong negative responses," Donovan told PAC members at their monthly meeting held Monday, Dec. 13. "But we would like to look at this as a very positive response and we would like to take this to step two. No, we didn’t make the criteria but we did get a clear majority. We’re not saying it should be a go, but it is worth taking the next step." Donovan asked the PAC to sanction an elementary school fashion show for February. The idea is to show off possible uniform styles, complete with prices, to students and any parents able to attend. The fashion parade will be held during school hours. The group will also work on selling the concept before holding a second survey. The PAC endorsed their request. A fashion show was also held at the Whistler secondary Christmas dance Tuesday, Dec. 14 in an effort to get students to buy into the concept. There was weak response to the initial high school survey and it was decided another would be conducted in the new year subsequent to the show. There was some debate amongst parents of secondary students whether the decision to implement uniforms be a parental or a student one. One mother at the last high school PAC meeting said she gives her daughters allowance to buy their own clothes. She said one of her daughters would likely opt for uniforms while there was no chance of persuading the other. She asked how, as a parent, she could make a decision. There was also debate as to whether Grade 12 students should be considered in the survey. The decision to implement school uniforms is a school-based one and not enforceable. Compliance would be an individual choice. If they find favour, the uniform committee would ideally like to see the Whistler dress implemented come the fall of 2000. Outfits would likely reflect the resort’s relaxed lifestyle and include fleece vests and jackets, T-shirts and golf shirts and khaki pants for the boys, with an option of skirts for the girls. The group feels uniforms foster a sense of pride and help discourage negative behaviour like violence and graffiti. They also feel uniforms are a "parent-owned" issue and the only concern may be compliance. However, the group has found other schools that have implemented uniforms have had up to 95 per cent compliance rates. The approximate cost of a traditional outfit is $250 and about $50 for non-traditional gear. The argument is uniforms will represent considerable savings for parents.

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